The long-running feud between artists and YouTubers has taken yet another turn. Hot on the heels of many similar complaints (like this one) by artists about YouTube’s attitude towards paying musicians) a group of stars including Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and U2 have signed an open letter to the US Congress, asking them to change US copyright law to more accurately reflect the state of modern entertainment. The letter has also been endorsed by music labels like Sony Music, BMI and Universal Music Group.
The letter is aimed at Copyright laws in general, but insiders have made it clear that the letter is aimed primarily at YouTube, a platform that artists have long held is unfair in the way it hosts artists’ content and in the way it compensates them. This is a feud we have discussed in depth on the site before.
What do you think about the way YouTube treats musicians? Let us know in the comment below or on our Facebook page. Here’s Taylor and Co’s letter in full:
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 This law was written and passed in an era that is technologically out-of-date compared to the era in which we live.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.