In the past couple of months things have been getting more heated as a coalition of over 180 top musicians have aligned to complain about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The 1998 law governs the way big internet companies can use material uploaded by their users. As technology has progressed over the past two decades, the artists’ stance is that their royalties have been diminishing relative to the many new devices and services that have sprung up in that timeframe. And in tandem as they’re making their voices heard about concerns suggesting that the DMCA is broken in today’s terms, they’re taking aim squarely at YouTube as a primary example of how this structure no longer works for artists (if it ever did). The claims are that YouTube doesn’t give them an active choice in terms of how their music is used and how it gets monetized (and also that YouTube isn’t giving them enough money for the use of their music). Ironically — or not — YouTube is currently in discussions with the big music labels to renew their licensing deals. The theory is that if the artists band together, and YouTube doesn’t concede to their requests, then the music labels will withdraw their music from YouTube. It remains to be seen what gets negotiated and how the chips fall for artists, but it’s been some time since we’ve seen so many top name artists rally around something that could have far-reaching implications relative to the revenues they generate.
Personally, I’ve been lobbying for new ways artists can generate revenues based on technologies (new devices, services and forms of distribution) for nearly 25 years. Artists need to be able to maintain control of their works & get paid.
Do you have an opinion you’d like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment. I’d enjoy hearing from you.