Taylor Swift joins other music industry names calling for DMCA reform in campaign against YouTube

By midian182 · 42 replies
Jun 21, 2016
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  1. YouTube is once again facing the wrath of musicians whose work is found on the video-sharing site. In an open letter to Congress and a week-long ad campaign, music labels and artists such as Taylor Swift, U2, and Paul McCartney are calling for a reform to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).

    While the letter and the ads, which are running for a week in political publications like Politico and The Hill, focus on the DMCA, there’s no mistaking that the intended target is online music platforms, particularly YouTube.

    The crux of the musicians and labels’ argument is that the law favors the Google-owned site. They say YouTube doesn’t pay them a fair amount for the use of their music, and that it doesn’t give them enough choice over how their work is used.

    For its part, YouTube has pointed out that, unlike pirate sites, it generates billions for the music industry, and that it has introduced tools that give artists more control over their works.

    Here is part of the ad: “[The DMCA law] 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.”

    This complaint is just one of many aimed at YouTube by those in the music industry. Several musicians, including Katy Perry and Billy Joel, send a similar letter to the US Copyright Office a few months ago asking for an amendment to the US Copyright Act.

    Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor announced his feelings on YouTube last week. Apple Music’s chief creative officer said the platform was built “on the backs of free, stolen content.”

    As pointed out by Re/Code, one important aspect to remember is that all of the major music labels are currently in discussions to renew their licensing deals with YouTube. Many believe the campaign against DMCA is a public negotiation over new licensing terms.

    Image credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock

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  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,890   +1,276

    At least major tech companies create jobs
  3. Larry Copling

    Larry Copling TS Rookie

    As someone with a politically Conservative orientation, I am all for job creation, but as a former, Nashville singer-songwriter, I must remind you that people who obtain copyrighted material for free are KILLING jobs in the music industry.

    You wouldn't expect any business to survive, if customers could go to some website and get the products of that business for free, so why shouldn't the music business be any different?

    Of course, you don't HAVE to purchase the use of that song. You are free to write and produce your own!
  4. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

    You may be right, but I have the impression that there is a HUGE amount of competition which has been introduced to the music marketplace (independent writers and performers, new recording/delivery methods, etc) on dozens of new delivery systems/websites. So, is it really 'pirating' of top line writers/performers material, or is it the chaos which occurs when there is a revolutionary change in the marketplace itself.

    Sony, Universal and Warner control about 85% of the revenues. Since there has been a huge move to digital delivery, the cost savings of media production have accrued to them and to the consumer. This has resulted in a significant drop in TOTAL revenues, but not in net profit. Perhaps a greater share should go to the writers/performers, but that is between them and the publishers.

    My understanding of the current situation is that a copyright complaint results in timely removal of the material. The timeliness is being improved with the introduction of progressively stronger methods for identifying the offense. Perhaps repeat offenders should face greater penalties, so it isn't 'whack-a-mole'.

    However, none of this seems to relate to a defined issue with Youtube. Yes, Youtube is big and wealthy and is the testbed for many of the changes we are seeing. That does not make them culpable.

    If it did, we would be arresting manufacturers of guns, ammunition, and automobiles instead of armed bank robbers.
    Lionvibez and SalaSSin like this.
  5. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

    I should add that a brief search of Youtube resulted in dozens of Taylor Swift music videos ... put there by some outfit (pirate?) called VEVO. A search of wikipedia produced the following:

    "Vevo (/ˈviːvoʊ/; vee-voh; stylized as vevo, previously VEVO) is a multinational video hosting service founded as a joint venture between the world's two biggest music production companies, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, and based in New York City. "
    Adhmuz, OcelotRex, Capaill and 2 others like this.
  6. It's pirating and chaos. I doubt senior officials are in touch with the details of how stuff works. They get reports biased one way or the other and have to make decisions based on these reports. YouTube is culpable. They have to find better ways to identify the stuff they host that is illegal. You would demand no less if it was ISIS video's would you not? I don't think the comparison with arms manufacturer's is legit unless they hosted seminars and groups to assist rebels/freedom fighters and terrorists etc. In other terms the arms industry is not, directly at least facilitating misuse, while YouTube is, at least more directly.
  7. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    Taylor Swift made $59 Million from YouTube.

    Record labels would be making a mistake if they pulled their music form YouTube. Currently it's an avenue to get paid for their work. Maybe it's not as much as they wish, but if the music disappeared from YouTube listeners would find alternatives to listen for free. (Such as file sharing.) If I were Taylor Swift I'd happily take the $59 million over sending fans to Torrent searches.
    lipe123 and TadMSTR like this.
  8. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

    "I doubt senior officials are in touch with the details of how stuff works."

    Frankly, I do not think anyone in a position to 'speak authoritatively' does.

    So, if a nasty terrorist outfit put a nasty seminar on Youtube after learning how to do that from Youtube instruction videos, I would merely expect it to be taken down if it violated law. The fact that it was uploaded doesn't make Youtube culpable.

    Finding and acting on violations of the law would seem to take co-operation between the rights' owners and Youtube. The rights' owners have to provide the datafiles (the 'we own this' stuff which they need to provide in order to assert rights) - and even pay someone to properly program and run the review tool (like a big anti-virus scanner) - and rent space at Youtube HQ if they need that. How well it works up to that point is the rights' owners problem. Once the violation of law is identified, it becomes Youtube's responsibility to assist in the legal sanction. It still doesn't make Youtube culpable.

    Youtube gets culpable if it becomes an accessory - by hiding illegal stuff or unreasonably delaying sanctions, etc. It may delay sanctions on occasion, if the proof of an illegal copy is not clear in the law. Being sensitive to the possibility of conflict in rights still does not make Youtube culpable.
    lripplinger, Raoul Duke and TadMSTR like this.
  9. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,800   +1,938

    YouTube isn't the one who uploads the contents so anything they "receive" is entirely not their choice. Their current copyright system definitely gives the edge to artists so I find it hard to believe anyone is struggling for control. They are sitting their and saying they don't have enough control yet people can't even use 5 second clips of their music anymore without the entire video being flagged for copyright and all the profits being sent to them. Yeah, 5 seconds somehow gives them the right to claim all the profits.

    I'm sure at this point that this isn't the artists pushing for this, it's the labels. Labels who take the lion's share of whatever these artists are making and would like even larger margins. Why do you think copyright was extended to the point we have it now? How does copyright expiring 70 years after the artist's death help them make money in life? It doesn't, everything is setup to benefit the labels.
    BSim500 likes this.
  10. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Member Posts: 21   +22

    This is what I don't get, 85% of the music videos are on VEVO channels, or X-artist-Vevo channel, so why are they saying YT is making piracy a thing. As a 30yo guy I remember Napster, azureus, Audio Galaxy, LimeWare and others, YouTube Destroyed those ways to listen to the music, YT is BY FAR more legit....
  11. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 733   +246

    This is hardly new, Tswift was set to receive multiple millions from spotify or some similar streaming outfit and pulled all her music because of unfair royalty payments.
    I'm sorry but totally just F*** these people that get literally millions of dollars for something they did once years ago and now can just sit back literally and cash in for all eternity on past work and STILL ***** and whine like a 5 year old that spotted a candy bar and their parents wont buy it.

    All streaming services pay out royalties and artists complain that they dont get the same amount as they get from radio stations, but they conveniently forget that when a radio station plays a song 100 000 people hear it and those same 100 000 support the ads on the station. When a streaming site plays a song 1-5 people in the room hear it and thats it. Of course you cant work on the same royalty scheme as TV/Radio.

    Seriously why are we hearing Tswift , 9"nails and all these filthy rich artists complain the loudest and none of the small guys complain? (maybe because the small guys realize getting a few $1000 from these services is a fair income and the rich cant live on $1000 a week?)
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,759   +1,324

    If Swift and others are making a large profit from Youtube, this whole thing sounds rather disingenuous. I can just imagine Swift testifying before a senate panel: "Yes, senator, I made $59 million on Youtube, but pirates are putting up so much of my material for free that I would probably make many times that if they weren't."

    Since the "artists" that are on the bandwagon appear to be signed with major labels, I almost would not be surprised if there is something in their contracts with the labels that lets the labels use their likenesses for stuff like this without their permission, or there is something in their contracts that allows the labels to control them, with regards to stuff like this, like puppets. Maybe I'm just passing gas, here.

    In any event, this sounds more like the labels putting up a big stink just like they do with other content. As I see it, it probably hurts them more to clamp down on content than it does to ease up on the restrictions.

    I find it quite interesting in the light of research articles that state that people who pirate are much more likely to buy what they pirate; however, labels dismiss this. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/04/study-pirates-buy-tons-more-music-than-average-folks/

    So, all I have to say to the labels is dig your own grave.
    Evernessince likes this.
  13. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Member Posts: 21   +22

    They are looking to get the people to do them what they did to Kanye with the ""Life Of Pablo" album, "Exclusive legally" in bullshit store basically means EXCLUSIVE IN ALL TORRENT SITE RUN THERE PIRATE!!!!, Jay Z, Kanye and some more artist took all their music of YouTube, and what did they get? PEOPLE CARE LESS FOR THEM, cause they don't have the option all day every day to enjoy legally work, giving you at least cents for every time I watch or listen to it, that only spike the Torrents searchs...

    I live in a 3rd world country, a music album cost 30% of a normal person MONTHLY income (Yes, just like that), so you really think they will go and buy the song if its not available in YOUTUBE, I don't really think so, I find my self gifting my friends the games I want to play with them, and I can't urge them to spend the money they possibly don't have in stuff like that, album sales will come from 2 sources, US and EU, YouTube views come from the whole world, YouTube put any artist in legend status based on 100's of millions of views, I think the labels are directing the blame to YouTube so they can keep the Higher profits while the singer, writer or whatever complaints about YouTube.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  14. Thorney

    Thorney TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +12

    Most of the 'illegal' or 'pirate' music that I listen to on YouTube are tracks or videos by bands that are no longer supported by a record label and without YouTube their music would no longer be heard most of it isnt even on iTunes or streaming sites. People puting up old clips from MTV and old VHS recordings are helping keep a lot of music from being forgotten, shame the artists dont get anything but if you are in a defunct band, get your stuff out there and try and make some money from it otherwise the public will.
  15. Mithan

    Mithan TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +30

    Why doesn't she write an open letter about something that actually matters?
    OcelotRex likes this.
  16. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

    I would guess that her 11 lawyers, her marketing advice team and her top 3 professional aspects managers had more to do with the letter than she did. I mean it IS what they do for a living...

    I wonder if they tell her that is why she only gets $1 for every $5 she earns.
    Lionvibez likes this.
  17. OcelotRex

    OcelotRex TS Guru Posts: 516   +277

    TBH I am only watching music videos on official channels like VEVO. They post the best quality (video/sound); any others are poor imitations and would only be watched for pure discovery only.

    The only videos I watch though are songs not available on Prime Music or Spotify (if I have a premium account at the time from a 3 months for $10 voucher or a $1 for a month voucher, never full price). Napster/iTunes/Etc really proved that a track is worth little more than a $1 to own forever. With the advent of smartphones and large data plans the music industry needs to adapt again and stop trying to bite the hand that feeds them like YouTube.
    ShObiT likes this.
  18. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,003   +1,310

    Wow... this isn't about pirated music, everyone. Most of the comments above are about pirating - this isn't about pirating.

    Sure, maybe Taylor Swift made $59 mil, but how much did Google make? The gripe that google pays them a pittance for their music, and they do.

    That's google's defense? We're fair because we didnt' steal it? And they generated billions of what? dollars or clicks?
  19. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

    So this is 'pile of gold' envy? Is it just how much did Sony/Universal/Warner make compared to how much Youtube made? Then what does DMCA have to do with it? If the musician/writer/publisher doesn't like the deal he agreed to then he can renegotiate when he re-ups. Just how does that involve DMCA? or, are you saying that the DMCA angle is just a stalking horse and the issue is really about BIG BUCKS?
    robb213 and wiyosaya like this.
  20. OcelotRex

    OcelotRex TS Guru Posts: 516   +277

  21. OcelotRex

    OcelotRex TS Guru Posts: 516   +277

    Last time I checked global video sharing sites were quite expensive to create, maintain, generate traffic, and dominate the market.

    It's quite easy to upload videos to YouTube that can be seen quickly by the billions with internet and smartphone traffic.
  22. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

    I re-read the original article, and, sadly, it appears to in reality be the battle of the suits over the pile of gold with DMCA and other boogie men thrown in just to hide the fact of the rapacious nature of the proceedings (and I bet campaign contributions are up too).
  23. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,495   +920

  24. sounds good to me (y)
  25. dylannnnnn

    dylannnnnn TS Rookie Posts: 19   +14

    Wow...$59 Million! I need to get ripped off by youtube more often :p where do I sign up for this "bad deal"?
    davislane1 likes this.

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