Time For Artists to Stop Hiding Out
“Historically, it’s taken brave actors standing up
to effect positive change in America”
If we are going to start turning the tide and find ways for artists to be fairly compensated for their work in the digital economy, we need to start by dealing with out-of-control internet piracy. We have allowed ineffective laws intended to combat piracy to remain on the books since 1998.
The takedown provision in Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has afforded internet piracy the ability to easily avoid prosecution. A grey area where no artist is able to have their work permanently removed from any website. Things are so bad that online piracy isn’t theft, it’s large scale looting, costing artists their careers.
We propose adding a staydown provision that would make website owners accountable for keeping infringing work of their site, after receiving a ‘takedown and stay’ down notification. Those who own the work can choose who they want to do business with. If you want to free file sharing is a via
Unless the creative community stands up in significant numbers, the lobbyists representing the interest of digital distribution power houses will influence the decision making process or worse yet simply sweep it under the rug.
As proven by the protracted and often unsuccessful attempts to prosecute ‘alleged’ pirate sites, those who create the work are denied the tools they need to protect their work. You may not know this, but currently there are no effective laws to combat online piracy.
We have a moment in time where we can make a difference, but it’s not going to be easy. There are powerful forces at work here that don’t want to give an inch. They don’t care about you and they’re throwing all kinds of money at lobbyists to get the decision makers in DC to do their bidding.
Right now, for the first time since 1976, Congress is reviewing all of our existing copyright laws, the vast majority written before the internet. For nearly twenty years creators have been preyed upon by online piracy, this has to stop.
One way to accomplish this is to End Safe Harbor Protection for internet piracy. A loophole that allows infringing sites to avoid prosecution and use creators work without permission or compensation to make money, while destroying the value of the work. Hard to get people to pay when they can get it for free.
Musicians must challenge this, but it means networking, networking, networking with your fellow artists to get on the same page and speak out.
We need the total support of the creative community. Be proactive, sign petitions, make sure your fellow creators know what’s going on and how they can help. How they can help themselves by demanding equitable compensation for their work. Artists have power in numbers. You can positively influence the decisions that will be made to legislation that impacts your work, your life, your career.
If you fail to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, you only have yourselves to blame. Do not miss this opportunity.
NOW is the time. Because if you don’t demand fair compensation for your music, nobody is going to give it to you. Demand it. Stop signing deals that favor the other side and leave you nothing.
David Byrne, former band leader of The Talking Heads, had this to say:
“I recently spent two days on Capitol Hill, with the help of Sound Exchange, a nonprofit digital royalty collection and distribution organization, to discuss fairer compensation for artists via the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which would force AM and FM stations to pay musicians when their recordings are broadcast, as most of the world does…..There is a rising tide of dissatisfaction, but we can work together to make fundamental changes that will be good for all.”
This is what Melvin Gibbs a jazz musician and newly elected president of the Content Creators Coalition had to say in the other article in the New York Times over the weekend:
“None of these companies that are supposedly in the music business are actually in the music business,” Mr. Gibbs said. “They are in the data-aggregation business. They’re in the ad-selling business. The value of music means nothing to them.”
Unfortunately, as Mr. Gibb points out, there is a lack of respect by the tech industry for creativity. They don’t get it. Someone paints a great picture or writes a hit song and makes a million bucks, they say ‘what’s so hard about that’? After all, technologists believe they are the visionaries and innovators who provide the all important infrastructure so that anyone, anywhere in the world can see your painting or hear your song.
Artists are simply seen as the workers, churning out a product. A product the tech companies don’t even want to expend the energy on to sell your product, but rather give it away so they can use your work to sell subscriptions and advertising. They have no real appreciation or respect for what artists produce, they are simply looking for the easiest way to make money from your work.
If artists can’t earn a living from their work how can they continue to work on their art? And as a society how much do we value music, film, literature and all art forms in our lives? At what point do we stand up, draw a line in the sand and tell businesses, I’m not doing that deal.
Your work has value. Sign petitions that support your work. Don’t sign bad deals out of fear. Reach out to other artists and get them involved. Join other musicians and songwriters who support the Content Creators Coalition and add your voice to their chorus.
The internet provides the perfect anonymous culture to sidestep humanity and kill all the beauty in our world. I don’t know about you, but my life isn’t simply about convenience and accessibility like Sean Parker would like you to believe.