Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and over a hundred more artists which you’ve probably heard on the radio by now are taking a stance against YouTube. It appears the site has been too lenient with music rights, and major record labels haven’t done anything to stop it.
Starting back in 2006, YouTube was known for giving the users the ability to share videos with the world. Some of the most popular among them were music videos hosted on channels obviously not owned by the original artists. A similar problem arose with personal channels hosting video ripped from movies, cartoons, and video games.
Yes, Ubisoft actually blocked video clips featuring their games, though now they seem to be fine with it.
— NME (@NME) June 22, 2016
After some time, YouTube seemed to have struck a deal with major music labels like those of Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. VEVO channels were launched to host high definition videos, and other copies of those videos were routinely taken down. Some artists still have music being hosted on private channels, often featuring entire albums, while the musicians who performed them never saw a penny.
— Lady Gaga News (@LG_Daily_News) June 22, 2016
To counter this, many artists have been persistent in looking for their music being used without permission. Users across the site have been using the counter-claim process and claiming “fair use” when they post clips of copyrighted content. YouTube usually gives in and puts the video back if it doesn’t appear to be actually violating a copyright law. Lady Gaga is one of over a hundred who feel that any YouTube video using even a part of their music should be earning them royalties.
Super-manager Irving Azoff is encouraging these artists to sign a petition to enact stricter copyright claims on YouTube.
“Everyone on the artist side of the business, especially the artists, needs to understand that music consumption is growing and revenues have drastically declined. Legitimate digital music services can’t make money to pay artists if they have to compete with services that are shielded by out-of-date safe-harbor protections.”
There was even a video featuring the NES game Double Dribble, which Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy allegedly stole for the show, followed by the original being taken down. That isn’t what Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Jack White, Nikki Sixx, and over a hundred more artists have a problem with.
YouTube’s contract with several major music labels has either expired or it’s about to, and the United States Copyright Office is looking into possibly updating the rights given by DMCA guidelines. This could easily be the perfect time to make a change.
Too often, there is a vlog or slideshow posted which uses a clip of copyrighted music for the intro. In the user’s defense, it is a sign that they love the song enough to make it part of their online identity. However, Lady Gaga and others aren’t seeing any money from users who do this.
YouTube has been notoriously quiet about the practice of giving rights to the users, and when they do enact these copyright violation rules, they earn accusations over violation of “fair use.” Abridged anime channels have been especially good at using this loophole for the sake of creativity, but this new petition from Lady Gaga and other music artists could easily change the climate of the copyrighted media industry forever. It may only be a matter of time before we will be forced to pay a subscription fee to watch music videos on YouTube.
What do you think of this petition and its intentions?
[Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]