Rock stars want changes to YouTube


Top rock and pop stars are banding together in a bid to make it harder to commit music piracy.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) almost 400 artists, songwriters and music labels have submitted comments to the U.S. copyright office ahead of a deadline on Friday.

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The musicians want Congress to make "drastic reforms" to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law that governs intellectual property on the Internet.

The RIAA said existing rules, introduced in the late 90's in the Clinton administration, are toothless when it comes to protecting original content.

"This outdated and dysfunctional law has hurt everyone involved in creating music, from the newest emerging artists and songwriters to the global superstars, from the smallest labels and publishers to the biggest majors," said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA in a statement Thursday.

Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Garth Brooks, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart are reported by the RIAA as some of the big names wanting greater protection against piracy.

And 18 separate major music organizations, calling themselves the music community, have submitted a joint letter which blasts the likes of Google's YouTube for issuing ineffective 'take down notices' for those who post content they don't own.

"The DMCA was supposed to provide balance between service providers and content owners, but instead it provides harmful 'safe havens' under which many platforms either pay nothing or pay less than market value for music," reads the statement.

The songwriters' letter cites an RIAA report that found that U.S. vinyl sales generated more revenue for the industry in 2015 than Spotify and YouTube's free, ad-supported options.

"The next generation of creators may be silenced if the economics don't justify a career in the music industry," the letter reads.

How the music industry is fighting online fraud

On Thursday, the Internet Association — whose members include Facebook, Google, Amazon, Pandora, Twitter and more — posted a blog titled "DMCA Infringement Takedowns Work."

"These smart laws allow people to post content that they have created on platforms - such as videos, reviews, pictures, and text. In essence, this is what makes the internet great."

"They have fueled the creation of a booming domestic internet economy that was worth nearly $1 trillion or 6 percent of GDP in 2014," it read.

Maria Schneider, a three-time GRAMMY winning jazz and classical composer described her frustration with the DMCA in her submission.

"The DMCA makes it my responsibility to police the entire internet on a daily basis. As fast as I take my music down, it reappears again on the same site—an endless whack-a-mole game."

ESL music is an independent record label based in Washington, D.C. which is run and headed by Thievery Corporation, a successful dance music group.

It says the DMCA doesn't pressure internet companies enough to ensure artists get paid.

"The courts have essentially interpreted the DMCA in a way that places no responsibility on those services like Google to proactively enforce our rights," the firm said.

And ESL said it is now releasing promising artists from its stable.

"Essentially, when we signed those artists we became the caretakers of their copyrights. And now we realize we do not have the tools to do that anymore."

The deadline for written comments on the DMCA to the U.S. copyright office is midnight tonight.

The office is also announcing it will hold two public round-tables on the DMCA safe harbor issues in New York and California in May.