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ARTISTS RALLY BEHIND DMCA REFORM

Irving Azoff has rallied more than 180 music creators—Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Kings of Leon among them—to urge lawmakers to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The key target is Google’s YouTube.

This law was written and passed in an era that is technologically out-of-date compared to the era in which we live,” the songwriters and recording artists write in an open letter to Congress that will be part of an accompanying ad campaign in The Hill, Politico and RollCall, echoing Azoff's statements two weeks ago at the NMPA. “It has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish.”

The DMCA law, passed in 1998, has allowed technology companies to thrive while devastating the livelihoods of musicians and songwriters, the coalition states. The group is asking Congress to find a more equitable balance between the interests of music creators and the interests of the companies who use music, but rely on the DMCA to reduce payments for copyrights.

 “This is a historic moment in the music business,” said Azoff, an outspoken artists advocate. “This diverse group of artists coming together illustrates that this is a movement, which should not be underestimated.  In all my years, this is the only time I can remember everyone - artists, songwriters, managers, labels, publishers, PROs - agreeing and collectively calling for change.  This is just the beginning.  The entire industry is united and committed to pursuing a fair resolution. We are fighting for the future.”  

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is expected to announce in the near future a framework for copyright-reform legislation.

Joining the coalition are 19 music industry organizations, among them A2IM, ASCAP, BMI, Global Music Rights, NARAS, RIAA, SESAC, Sony/ATV, Sony Music, SoundExchange, Universal Music Group, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell and Warner Music Group.

Here's a copy of the letter:

Dear Congress: 

As songwriters and artists who are a vital contributing force to the U.S. and to American exports around the world, we are writing to express our concern about the ability of the next generation of creators to earn a living. The existing laws threaten the continued viability of songwriters and recording artists to survive from the creation of music. Aspiring creators shouldn’t have to decide between making music and making a living. Please protect them.

One of the biggest problems confronting songwriters and recording artists today is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law was written and passed in an era that is technologically out-of-date compared to the era in which we live. It has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish. Music consumption has skyrocketed, but the monies earned by individual writers and artists for that consumption has plummeted.

The DMCA simply doesn’t work. It’s impossible for tens of thousands of individual songwriters and artists to muster the resources necessary to comply with its application. The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law nearly two decades ago. 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. It’s only then that consumers will truly benefit.

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