More industry critiques of DMCA; Taylor Swift and U2 join in

Irving AzoffA new open letter is circulating from the music industry attacking YouTube’s use of safe harbors under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This one is spearheaded by Irving Azoff, and it includes signatures from heavy hitters including Taylor Swift and U2.

Members of the music industry have been mobilizing forces against the DMCA and how YouTube uses its safe harbor provisions for months. Labels, managers, and artists have launched petitions and penned articles about the legislation, arguing that safe harbors have allowed YouTube to make money on videos using licensed music without paying royalties for it. In fact, Re/code noted that much of the language in Azoff’s new letter is the same as in past missives.

“The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law nearly two decades ago,” the letter tweeted by Azoff reads. “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.”

YouTube has said that its Content ID system is catching the vast majority of infringements and allows rightsholders to take action. However, the artists and songwriters claim that forces them to play endless games of whack-a-mole, since each case has to be handled individually. In previous discussions of the DMCA, Azoff has said that, “When the artist sends a ‘take down,’ it should be a ‘stay down.’”

Anna Washenko