As of today, a petition advocating the US Congress for reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which governs the circulation of copyrighted work on the internet, will run in D.C. publications such as Politico, the Hill, and Roll Call, as reported by Billboard and Recode report.
Adding a huge amount of weight to the petition, it will be signed by 180 musicians and songwriters including huge stars like: Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, U2, Vince Staples, Kings of Leon, Carole King, and many more.
Not only does the petition carry the backing of artist and songwriters, but 19 companies, which include the three major record labels, Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music, will also back it.
Billboard and Recode have made the point that the petition is intrinsically pointed at the practices of YouTube, which basically allows users to upload copyrighted material for anyone to hear.
Under the DMCA, YouTube is given “safe harbor” from any copyright infringement lawsuits, this, as long as YouTube complies with all takedown notices. The problem for artists and labels signing the petition is that YouTube has more power than it should have when it comes to streaming their music.
The petition points out that the DMCA: “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.”
The petition is also calling for: “sensible reform that balances the interests of creators with the interests of the companies who exploit music for their financial enrichment.”
This is nothing new for YouTube; musicians have been criticizing the company for its approach to paying artists for a while now. Patrick Carney, drummer in The Black Keys said: “I probably can find 250 songs that are available which the artist isn’t getting paid for within five minutes of surfing YouTube. ”
Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor made the point that YouTube was “built on the backs of free, stolen content.”
Only time will tell, but today is a major step in the right direction for musicians’ rights.