Music Industry Pushes for DMCA and Copyright Revisions
DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It is an Act that essentially outlaws the making of and/or dissemination of software, technology or devices which allow users to override any DRM measures that have been put in place by creators of digital content.
DRM stands for digital rights management, and is a term used to describe a whole host of measures used to prevent purchasers from illegally recreating or passing along digital content that is protected by copyright. DRM violations may occur even when there is no copyright in place to protect the content that is being dissemination.
The DMCA was first enacted in 1998, during the internet’s infancy. In an attempt to quell piracy of digital content, lawmakers devised a system which made piracy or copyright infringement in the digital atmosphere, illegal. The Act required service providers to ensure that illegally used content was removed. At the time the DMCA was created and enacted, there were no other laws which protected digital rights, and it was seen as appropriate because it increased the penalties involved with online copyright infringement.
However, as use of the internet evolved and the accessibility of digital content increased, the consequence of the real-life application of the DMCA put service providers in a better position than artists in the overall fight against piracy. Service providers are currently less liable for infringement activity than they would be if the reforms to the DMCA that artists are pushing for, take effect.
From 1998 to the current date, service providers have had the assigned task of simply ensuring the take-down of illegally used content. The Goliath portion of the task of policing the world wide web for those perpetrators, however, was left up to the artist or content creator, or their respective hired teams. Because music consumption has become largely an activity that is done digitally, the music community is one of the largest sectors of the internet, where these issues arise.
Currently, artists are left to mailing out cease and desist letters to violators. The efforts are often times fruitless and they are always time consuming and costly. Attorney fees associated with the process can cause many artists to simply give up and hope for a better solution to the persistent problem of intellectual property piracy.
With nearly one billion websites in existence, that task of policing all your own content, is impossible. For all intents and purposes, no artist can effectively protect the rights that have been captured within the copyrights they pay for and attain.
Because of the imbalance of responsibility and burden between the creators of intellectual property and the service providers, a whole host of music artists and music industry insiders, have banned together and have begun petitioning for piracy protection and infringement penalties with real consequences. They are also pushing for the ability to enforce the associated penalties in a way that will elicit compliance.
This group is demanding a reform to the current DMCA. The changes they want to see would be the implementation of some process that would make policing easier, payment of illegally obtained and used content, stricter rules for DMCA mandated take downs and a more convenient way for music consumers to legally purchase and rightfully share an artists’ product, if they wish to do so.