Don Henley Hates YouTube; Complains That The Gov't Needs To Do Something

from the ah,-entitlement dept

We hadn’t covered the Chuck DeVore/Don Henley legal battle, because it was just yet another in a long line of “musician suing politician for using song” lawsuit that we’ve seen so much of lately. DeVore tried to convince the world that his use of Henley tunes (with different words) to make fun of his political opponent, Barbara Boxer, were covered as parody. But, the court pointed out that it wasn’t parodying Henley’s works, so it was infringing. Either way, the two have now reached a settlement, which gave Henley an opportunity to start acting like an angry old man upset at the kids on his lawn when an interview about the legal victory turned to Henley’s views on YouTube and mashups and such:

Henley blasted all unauthorized uses of his music, whether by politicians or just amateurs making remixes, mash-ups, and similar unlicensed uses on sites like YouTube. “I don’t condone it,” he said of such practices. “I’m vehemently opposed to it. Not because I don’t like parodies or satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of U.S. copyright law.”

Hmm. Copyright is supposed to be the means, not the end. You shouldn’t be upset at something just because it’s copyright infringement. Often, that copyright infringement can be tremendously valuable to the original creator. Saying that you’re upset just because it’s infringement makes little sense. It’s an emotional response, rather than a rational response. Besides, copyright law’s stated purpose is to “promote progress,” and if something is infringing, but in the process promotes progress, is Henley still against it because it “violates US copyright law?” That’s silly.

He added, “People in my age group generally don’t like it. Songs are difficult to write; some of them take years to write. To have them used as toys or playthings is frustrating.” Henley noted that he does not license his songs for commercials and only rarely does so for uses in films and television.

Here’s the thing (and it’s an important thing that so many content creators have trouble grasping): Once your work is out there, how people react to it is their decision. I’m not talking about copyright infringement here. I’m talking about just the basic consumption part. Many, many people hear Henley’s songs and think of them as “playthings,” because they’re pop hits. That’s their right. Whether or not people think of Henley’s music as being a “plaything” is not for Henley to decide — nor does it harm Henley. Some people really love his music, and others don’t. But it doesn’t harm or devalue Henley’s work that some people find his tunes bubblegum. Yet, he gets upset when people who actually do like his music, and want to do new and creative things with it (and even introduce new audiences to it), and actually go through with it? That makes no sense. Why would you get upset with people inspired to do more with your music, while not being upset at all the people who really view the music as a toy or a plaything?

And Henley reserved particular ire for YouTube, which he described as a “fence” for stolen intellectual property. “YouTube is one of the biggest violators or copyright laws in the world,” he said. “A tremendous amount of the content on YouTube is a copyright violation…. I’m not a fan of YouTube at all for their part in aiding and abetting copyright violations.” YouTube, which hosted the videos at issue in the DeVore case, took them down in response to DMCA notices, but DeVore filed counter-notices, and YouTube would have re-posted them but for the filing of the lawsuit.

What can you say? The guy is very confused about copyright law. Does he get mad at the companies that make mp3 players too for supposedly “aiding and abetting copyright violations”? How about everyone who makes computers? Or broadband companies? Or, the record labels themselves who released the music in a way that could be copied? At some age, people are supposed to learn to actually put the blame on people who do stuff, not the tools they use.

And Henley lamented what he views as the lack of response in Washington to rampant infringement on the Internet: “The politicians are not supporting creators on these issues, and it’s extremely disappointing.” He blamed what he views as the lack of action on the political power of Internet companies. “The people who create and run these sites like YouTube have a lot of clout,” he said.

Yeah, I did a doubletake. Are we talking about the same Washington here? The one that is practically overrun by recording industry and Hollywood lobbyists, but where the constant lament is that Silicon Valley has very little presence? The same Washington that has only expanded copyright law in one direction — in favor of the record labels? The same Washington that keeps updating copyright law at the behest of the recording industry? Because what Henley sees is not reality. The Washington he sees does not exist.

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Comments on “Don Henley Hates YouTube; Complains That The Gov't Needs To Do Something”

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37 Comments
MrWilson says:

Re: ... and the horse he rode in on.

This is one of the saddest parts of the whole b.s. position that the music industry takes in regards to copyright law.

Instead of the artists, who historically have been screwed over by record companies since pretty much the beginning of the industry, fighting against the abusive business practices of the music industry, the industry turns artists against their biggest fans by saying that it’s the fans who are keeping them from getting their fair share of payment instead of the one-sided record contracts.

So artists get pissed at fans for loving their work (hello, artist formally known as having an internet presence…) and the music industry just gains more voices for their strategy of shouting down anyone who points out that their claims of losses are based on made up numbers and obsolete business models.

Easy Rider says:

Re: Re: ... and the horse he rode in on.

Nothin’ personal, since I know a little about horses…
but didn’t that horse ride out to pasture appx. 4 mins.
in a post prior to yours???

Shouldn’t copywrights for musician’s lyrics be deemed
with the same respect as licensures of designed buildings and works of art? Frank Lloyd Wright or Picasso did not become history because people copied their works; they
were ‘pr’ofoundly respected because of their uniqueness
and sensuality of design. I think the matter was ‘respect’.

Anonymous Coward says:

http://blogs.alternet.org/oleoleolson/2010/08/05/massive-censorship-of-digg-uncovered/

He should join the DIGGPatriot brigade LoL

And Henley lamented what he views as the lack of response in Washington to rampant infringement on the Internet: “The politicians are not supporting creators on these issues, and it’s extremely disappointing.” He blamed what he views as the lack of action on the political power of Internet companies. “The people who create and run these sites like YouTube have a lot of clout,” he said.

About that, well I do believe the politicians are in the clear on this one, they did everything they could and are trying hard to do more, the thing is that there is no stopping or even slowing down “piracy”, he can cry all he wants and get blue it won’t make a difference.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Reality Distortion Fields

I dunno. The record labels and movie studios have simply been around longer. They are also owned by large multi-national corporations now. Those have “been around”. The idea that Silicon Valley wields more influence is silly on it’s face.

Then you add in the DMCA and the many extensions to copyright terms and it all seems downright absurd.

If Congress were really on Silicon Valley’s side there would be a lot of Henley’s works that would just be plain public domain by now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Does he also think the use of music in these instances are bad?

– Rock and Roll blasted inside a police station to mask the screaming of some dude receiving the VIP treatment.

– American tanks bulldozing houses in a war zone while blasting loud music.

– The use of music to mask people screaming inside a prison.

– Music being used to punish some dude inside a prison a.k.a. sleep deprivation.

Have any musician ever sued authorities for using their music in that way? did ASCAP tried to charge them?

I just crossed my mind the image of an ASCAP agent entering an police station and interrupting some cops beating the shit of some guy to hand them a bill.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don

He’s a really nice guy, but he’s a moron. I have met him on several occassions because I have family in the tiny little town that he’s from (Linden, TX) and grew up less than half an hour from where he was born (Gilmer, TX). He’s just a bit curmudgeonly.

The fact is he’s in his 60s. He’ll die soon enough and we won’t have to watch him shake his cane if those darn kids don’t get off his lawn.

Brigid (user link) says:

Mr. Henley

I agree with Don Henley–no one should ever publicly broadcast anything remotely like his music anywhere. My friend and I developed a theory in college (about 20 years ago) that Don Henley was the root of all evil in the world, based on our entirely scientific experience of having something really horrible happen every time we were accidentally exposed to an Eagles song–especially that unmentionable one that starts with an “H”. So, I’m perfectly happy to have any traces of his crappy music eradicated from anywhere. I’m not surprised he’s a moron when it comes to copyright. Oh, BTW, Your Evilness Mr. Henley–parodies and satire are protected under copyright law.

Anonymous of course says:

Isn't it true...

Don said “…Not because I don’t like parodies or satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of U.S. copyright law.”

Isn’t it true that parody and satire are two examples of derivative work not protected by copyright?

So is he ignorant of the law, which would be odd when it is important to his craft, or a liar?

Then again I may be mistaken.

NAMELESS.ONE says:

And Henley lamented what he views as the lack of response in Washington to rampant infringement on the Internet: “The politicians are not supporting creators on these issues, and it’s extremely disappointing.”

well im disappointed that
the public domain which was 14 years or later is now 150 years practically so mister henley
QUIT STEALING FROM THE PUBLIC and im erasing my eagles music
yup you wont even be able to give it to me freely now you asshole

Woadan says:

Don henley is probably just lamenting the days when people bought and listened to his music, and waited impatiently for something new to come from him, solo, or with the Eagles.

Unfortunately, those days are gone.

It isn’t surprising that he doesn’t remember things right. Once upon a time, if the rumors were true, it was debatable as to whether he had blood running in his cocaine, or cocaine running in his blood.

Neither Don Henley nor Glenn Frey can be said to have good memories, at least if you go by Don Felder’s account of things in “Heaven and Hell”. he was one third of what remained of the partnership of the Eagels. (Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner had also been part of that until their departures.)

Don and Glenn (and their business manager) seemed to want to forget that, and they all paid good money to Don Felder when they settled out of court.

Meh. The Eagles, Don Henley, Glenn Frey–they’re all so yesterday.

soda (profile) says:

Don't be a hater

I think it’s more constructive to counter Don Henley’s opinions with logic than to disparage him or his music. Nasty comments about how much you hate him or his music take away your credibility and make you look rather childish. Do you want to be taken seriously or do you want to be viewed with contempt, even by people who agree with your stance about YouTube?

To “Anonymous of Course”:
“Don said ‘…Not because I don’t like parodies or satires of my work. But it’s simply a violation of U.S. copyright law.’
Isn’t it true that parody and satire are two examples of derivative work not protected by copyright?”

Only parody is an exception to copyright law; that’s why Henley won his case against Chuck DeVore, the politician he sued. DeVore’s defense was that his videos were parody and therefore “Fair Use,” but the court classified the videos as satire and therefore subject to copyright law. Since I’m sure Henley’s lawyers briefed him on the distinction between the two which was so crucial to his case, I speculate that his inclusion of “parodies” in that statement was intended to show he could take criticism, not that he considered parody a violation of copyright law (that part of the statement was referring to satires, mash-ups, and remixes, presumably).

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