The DMCA reform battle continues…
The DMCA was enacted in 1998, and was forged during the formative years of the internet. In the current atmosphere, it simply isn’t doing enough to prevent piracy, and often encourages it. Just moments after infringing content is taken down from a place like Google results, the exact same content is commonly re-uploaded.
That forces content owners to constantly issue takedowns, often in a fruitless battle for control. Over the years there have been several ongoing battles against DMCA exploitation, and the latest comes in the form of an open letter to congress from over 180 music artists.
The open letter reads…
”DEAR CONGRESS: THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT (DMCA) IS BROKEN AND NO LONGER WORKS FOR CREATORS
As songwriters and artists who are a vital contributing force to the U.S. and to American exports around the world, we are writing to express our concern about the ability of the next generation of creators to earn a living. The existing laws threaten the continued viability of songwriters and recording artists to survive from the creation of music. Aspiring creators shouldn’t have to decide between making music and making a living. Please protect them.
One of the biggest problems confronting songwriters and recording artists today is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law was written and passed in an era that is technologically out-of-date compared to the era in which we live. It has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish. Music consumption has skyrocketed, but the monies earned by individual writers and artists for that consumption has plummeted.
The DMCA simply doesn’t work. It’s impossible for tens of thousands of individual songwriters and artists to muster the resources necessary to comply with its application. The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law nearly two decades ago. We ask you to enact sensible reform that balances the interests of creators with the interests of the companies who exploit music for their financial enrichment. It’s only then that consumers will truly benefit.”
This followed a similar call for reform that happened back in April, where 400 artists, songwriters, managers, and music organisations sent a letter to the US Copyright office demanding reforms to the DMCA. Beyond this, several others have spoken out via the US government’s public consultation regarding DMCA safe harbor provisions.
Online, Fight For The Future and a popular YouTube channel, ChannelAwesome, have also started a campaign against DMCA abuse.
The battle against DMCA exploitation has been going on for some time, though the mass of complaints have done very little to combat this problem. That said, the US copyright Office is paying attention to this topic, with at least two roundtables discussing the DMCA safe harbors recently concluded. The outcomes of these discussions are still unknown.
Clearly there is a fundamental flaw in the current system. The number of DMCA notices Google has received in the past two years has exploded exponentially. But, only time will tell if new measures will be enforced to better deal with this growing issue.
(Image by Jakub T. Jankiewicz, Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic, cc by-sa 2.0)