Revealed: The 186 artists fighting the YouTube-shielding DMCA

MBW broke the news on Friday that a raft of superstar artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Beck and Gwen Stefani had all lent their names to a petition calling for drastic change to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the US.

Since then, we’ve learned that additional names including Taylor Swift and U2 have been added to this protest group, in addition to music bodies such as A2IM, the RIAA, ASCAP, A2IM, Kobalt, the NMPA and all of the major record labels and publishers.

Now we can finally reveal the full list of artist names who have undersigned the letter to US Congress, which you can see below.

They include everyone from Ryan Adams to The Black Keys, Ne-Yo, Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Billy Joel, Carole King, Bette Midler, Jason Mraz, Pink, Mark Ronson and Sir Elton John.

“This is just the beginning. This diverse group of artists coming together illustrates that this is a movement.”

Irving Azoff

These artists and songwriters are essentially calling for a redrawing of the ‘safe harbor’ protections within the DMCA, which allow platforms such as YouTube to avoid legal liability for copyright infringement taking place on its platform.

“This is a historic moment in the music business,” said Irving Azoff, chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, who organised the letter.

“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.”

The open letter arrives as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is slated to soon announce a framework for US copyright reform legislation following three years of hearings and consultation with various interested parties.


It reads:

DEAR CONGRESS:  THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT (DMCA) IS BROKEN AND NO LONGER WORKS FOR CREATORS

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.


Here’s the big list of artists and music bodies who have signed the letter, which is appearing in influential Washington publications as an ad this week:

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 08.11.39Music Business Worldwide

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