The decades-old laws, called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (in the United States) and the “Safe Harbour” (in the EU), were intended to help the Internet grow. These laws were supposed to create a balance by giving websites legal protection for passively hosting unlicensed material posted by their users as long as the websites removed illegal copies when artists and creators sent “take down” notices.
But the Internet has grown bigger and faster. Creators are forced to send millions of take down notices every year only to see the illegally uploaded songs pop back up again, day after day. Companies like YouTube continue to hide behind these dial-up era laws, profiting by selling ads to viewers who come for these illegal streams, and unfairly shortchanging artists in the process. These companies are not just passively “hosting” unlicensed material anymore — they are actively profiting from it.
Some people call it a value grab, others know it as a value gap. Whatever it’s called, the result is an unfair playing field that allows some companies and websites to reach into artists’ and songwriters’ pockets and grab their paychecks. Broken, outdated laws let those companies turn a blind eye and profit every time they do, while artists and songwriters have no control over their works. The “choice” creators face is this: below-market pay for their work or no compensation at all.
It‘s time to fix these laws.