Irving Azoff Leads Coalition To Appeal Congress For Reform 'Outdated, Broken' Digital Millennium Copyright Act
June 20, 2016 at 11:33 AM (PT)
A group of songwriters and recording artists joined together to petition CAPITOL HILL today urging lawmakers to reform the DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Spearheaded by artist manager IRVING AZOFF, the coalition unites an entire spectrum of music creators -- from superstars to independent artists -- and spans across generations and music genres.
Penned as an open letter to CONGRESS, with an accompanying ad campaign in THE HILL, POLITICO and ROLLCALL, more than 180 music creators joined together to ask for the reform of the "outdated, broken" DMCA. Passed in 1998, the law has allowed technology companies (like GOOGLE and its wholly owned YOUTUBE) to thrive while "devastating the livelihoods of musicians and songwriters."
The letter calls for a more equitable balance between the interests of music creators and the interests of the companies who use the DMCA to "exploit music for their financial benefit." The "current, dramatic imbalance" in the law "threatens the future of music and has started a groundswell in the creative music community."
“This is a historic moment in the music business,” said AZOFF, Chairman/CEO of AZOFF MSG ENTERTAINMENT. “This diverse group of artists coming together illustrates that this is a movement, which should not be underestimated. In all my years, this is the only time I can remember everyone -- artists, songwriters, managers, labels, publishers, PROs -- agreeing and collectively calling for change. This is just the beginning. The entire industry is united and committed to pursuing a fair resolution. We are fighting for the future.”
This open letter and ad campaign arrive as HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE Chairman BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA.) is slated to soon announce a framework for copyright reform legislation following three years of hearings and consultation with various interested parties.
Earlier this year, music industry organizations submitted comments to the U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE for use in their evaluation of the effectiveness of DMCA. These industry comments illustrated how the system is "ineffective" in protecting creators and their music from inappropriate use.
Nineteen music industry organizations join the artists in support and include: A2IM, AFM, ASCAP, AZOFF MUSIC, BMI, GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS, KOBALT, NARAS, NMPA, NSAI, RIAA, SESAC, SONY/ATV, SONY MUSIC, SOUND EXCHANGE, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP, WARNER/CHAPPELL and WARNER MUSIC GROUP.
Today’s 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.