Christina Aguilera, Deadmau5, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie are amongst the international music stars backing petitions to update copyright laws online.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created in 1998 to protect copyrighted work on the internet. It was intended to protect creators’ work online, however since 1998 a lot has changed on the internet, it’s an entirely different landscape 18 years later going from under 200 million users to 3.5 billion today. With so many people using an open, easily manipulated platform there is a plethora of copyright issues, but the DMCA remains the same as it was 18 years ago.
The music industry is recognising this daily struggle and musicians, managers, and others in the industry have signed petitions being sent to the US Copyright Office for reform; claiming that online businesses like YouTube are hosting copyrighted content and making money off the backs of the real copyright holders. The petitions include signings from major artists like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie as well as many other parts of the music industry.
A statement by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) last thursday read:
Artists spanning a variety of genres and generations are submitting comments to the federal government’s U.S. Copyright Office today and tomorrow demanding reforms to the antiquated DMCA which forces creators to police the entire internet for instances of theft, placing an undue burden on these artists and unfairly favoring technology companies and rogue pirate sites.
The DMCA was brought into law in 1998 by Bill Clinton, as an update to copyright laws that represented the emerging digital, online world. However the now outdated law has seen no change, over the course of the internet’s major and ongoing transformation, almost two decades later. Last December the US Copyright Office acknowledged the imbalance and allowed for comments to be sent to them up to April 1st by the public for their opinions, which spurred the industry’s backing. The release mentioned:
While Congress understood that it would be essential to address online infringement as the internet continued to grow, it may have been difficult to anticipate the online world as we now know it, where each day users upload hundreds of millions of photos, videos and other items, and service providers receive over a million notices of alleged infringement. The growth of internet has highlighted issues concerning section 512 that appear ripe for study.
A petition sent to the Copyright office read: “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, by the monies generated by individual writers and artists for that consumption has plummeted. The growth and support of technology companies should not be at the expense of artists and songwriters.”
Now that the United States Copyright Office aren’t taking any more comments on the matter they will partake in one or more public meetings to discuss the issue and, hopefully, commence an update on the aged law.