Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Report: Outdated Piracy Law 'Threatens To Destroy' Music

T Bone Burnett
Music producer T Bone Burnett on Tuesday lambasted federal copyright laws governing music piracy, calling them insufficient and warning that the nation's "culture is at stake."

According to The Tennessean, the renowned Nashville-based producer's remarks are part of comments to be submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office, which is conducting a review of the safe harbor provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA is the law requiring search engines like Google and video services like YouTube, which is owned by Google, to take down music that is posted online without the proper copyright approvals.

But Burnett says, in practice, the law is largely toothless.

"And for artists and creators, instead of amplifying our voices to lead the fight for change, (the internet) undermines and silences us," said Burnett. "The Internet — with all its promise and beauty — threatens to destroy what it was supposed to save,"

“It’s time for Congress to close the loopholes in section 512 of the DMCA.  Our culture is a stake.”

Google has argued that the current system is largely working and that it has exerted great effort to take down unlicensed music that is uploaded to YouTube or appears in a Google search.

But, Burnett said the company has the technology to root out unlicensed music online similar to how it blocks pornographic material from appearing on YouTube. Burnett, who has won 13 Grammy Awards, one Oscar and one Golden Globe Award, said the music industry is not resistant to technology. But he said some aspects of technology "must be enlisted to make the system work better, not roadblock progress in a pointless arms race of whack a mole deception."

The current system puts the onus on music publishers, record labels, artists and songwriters to identify and send notices for Google to take down pirated music. Burnett is hoping his comments spur the Copyright Office to recommend changes to the DMCA in advance of possible copyright reform legislation to be taken up by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee later this year.

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