In The Midst Of A Pandemic And Widespread Unrest, Senate Republicans Think It's Time To Use Copyright To Make The Richest Musicians Richer

from the read-the-fucking-room-guys dept

There’s kind of a lot going on in America right now — what with widespread protests about police violence (leading to more police violence), and we’re still in the middle of the largest pandemic in a century. You’d think some of those things would be priorities for Congress, but instead, Senate Republicans have decided that now is the time to pushing ahead with helping Hollywood by examining how to make copyright worse. Even the Washington Post is completely perplexed as to how this could possibly be a priority right now.

?I don?t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately? on further help for those devastated by the pandemic, McConnell said two weeks ago. Now, with 100,000 dead and 40 million out of work, he still talks of waiting a month.

So what makes Senate Republicans feel the urgency of acting immediately? What would make them Take It to the Limit?

Don Henley would.

I Can?t Tell You Why.

Actually, I can. The Eagles singer and drummer has been summoned by the Senate Judiciary subcommittee to testify Tuesday about the functioning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?s ?Notice-And-Takedown System.?

Henley, of course, is one of the wealthiest musicians in history, considering that he was a founding member of the Eagles, a band that literally has both the best selling album of all time AND the third best selling album of all time. Yes, in the top 3 best selling albums of all time, Don Henley’s on two of ’em.

If Don Henley is hurting for money, I’m going to suggest that it ain’t copyright that’s the problem. But this is the same Don Henley who has been attacking the internet for at least a decade, when he whined that it was all copyright infringement that anyone might take any of his songs and build on it in doing a remix or a mashup.

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.”

[….]

“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.”

Really, none of this makes any sense. You’d think (1) that right now wouldn’t be the time to focus on copyright, (2) that Republican Senators wouldn’t be in such a rush to aid Hollywood (which is generally not known for its support of the GOP), and (3) that of all the possible people to testify, they’d pick a rich rocker who’s big complaint about the internet is that it allows the kids these days to be creative. But for whatever reason, this is what the Republican leadership in the Senate feels is most important right now. Helping super rich rockers who dislike the kids get even richer at the expense of the public.

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Comments on “In The Midst Of A Pandemic And Widespread Unrest, Senate Republicans Think It's Time To Use Copyright To Make The Richest Musicians Richer”

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29 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Henley, of course, is one of the wealthiest musicians in history

And he wants to make sure that he stays in that group, rather than being pushed out by some young and up and coming musician, and making them pay tribute will help in that objective.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I disagree with the "of course": musicians are one of the groups most associated with financial irresponsibility. But Wikipedia says Henley actually is exceedingly wealthy, or at least was in 2012 with approx. $200 million.

It would generally be considered safe to withdraw $8 million/year from that. It would almost be difficult for him to not remain weathly, even if royalties went to 0.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
virusdetected (profile) says:

With so many complex problems to address, none with easy answers, leave it to the Senate Republicans to focus on a non-problem where they can do some more rich folks a favor and fly under the news cycle radar. Our Federal government seems to fail at every task they are asked to do, quite possibly because Congress (both parties) quit doing their job some years ago, about the time when the Supremes decided Citizens United and the congresscritters no longer needed financial support from the peon citizenry. If the protesters were better educated, they’d be sharpening the guillotines and attacking the people who benefit financially from racial and financial inequality…

Upstream (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Our Federal government seems to fail at every task . . .

Otherwise known as the Inverse Midas Touch (everything the government touches turns to $#|t). This is why the less the government touches, the better off we will all be.

BTW, there is currently an alternative to the two existing government factions, and her name is Jo Jorgensen. A better option than either of the two same old, same old.

Anonymous Coward says:

But what about the FUD?

Obviously with the pandemic going on Hollywood has had a hard time spreading the FUD as far and as wide as they normally would through ‘assroots’ campaigns, so they have had to involve the senate in their assenine dealings to try and scrape up more ass roots support for their asslighting campaign where they take the FUD to the streets and spread it high and wide to every who in whoville…

copyright pending, all patents reserved, all your bases are belonging to us

Anonymous Coward says:

nothing more important in the USA than ensuring that copyright keeps the rich getting richer! if ever there was a self-serving bunch of assholes, propped up by other bunches of assholes, it has to be the whole of the US Entertainment industries! they cant do a freakin’ thing for themselves, even in their own country so have to use whatever despicable plan they can dream up to force/bribe the rest of the world to prop them up! i have to ask how much was paid out to those who took away what copyright was meant to be and who it was meant for and gave these assholes the right to have it, totally, removing any and every right of the public, and giving it for 3GENERATIONS with the option of increasing it further! ridiculous!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Henleys in the top 1 per cent of musicians by earnings, record sales if he never sold another cd he, d still be rích maybe the senate should talk to people who use YouTube as a form of promotion and to reach new fans or musicians under 50 who stream music and put new songs on YouTube or sound loud,
There’s an age gap here, old pop stars and senators
Do not understand the Web is a platform for creativity and promotion by artists,
Anyone can put new music on soundcloud or YouTube and gain an audience without a record deal
or going thru a gatekeeper , I find it hard to think of a
Popstar in the last 5 years who did not use the Web
to get attention and reach new fans
The days of a singer just releasing a cd and hoping to have a hit from a video on mtv is over
We should talk about limiting the scope of the Dmca
not making it stronger

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Henley: … But it’s simply a violation of U.S. copyright law.

Well, you can correct that, Henley, by giving blanket permission to derive their own works off of yours. But no:

To have them used as toys or playthings is frustrating.

So… it’s not just because of the law, then is it? Thank you for coming clean there at the end.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Songwriting

"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."

Goddammit, what a whiner. Look, as a songwriter, I get the frustration of the songwriting process, when you have to wait until the right moment of inspiration to hit (one songwriter whose name I don’t remember compared it to a bear catching a fish jumping out of a stream). That being said, once you put it out in the world, it may even inspire others to make other original music. If not, then you’re a failure. I’d be lying if I said all of my works were completely original, and you know what? So would Don Henley! Not to mention that Don Henley probably got his start playing covers, or at the very least, was heavily influenced by other bands around the start of his career.

Don Henley is basically a ladder-puller, saying he wouldn’t let others be influenced by him the same way he was influenced by others.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Songwriting

I read it that he’s not speaking about influencing later songwriters, but straight up copying and manipulating original recordings. Which is not as creative as the author wants it to be, really.

Probably because I disagree with the notion it’s hard to write songs. At least until you throw conditions like best selling or an impossible one like 100% original and unfiltered.

In the end though this not about song writers copy rights. They deserve as much as they can get. No, this is about the copyright industry who make their money from copyright, not from writing songs or being creative at all. You know, the guys who sign Don Henleys paychecks.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Makes sense. Warped sense but sense nonetheless

If one only considers those that are signed with a label as real musicians, and being a successful musician shows how good a musician is, then of course they are going to want to talk to the most successful musician they can find, since obviously they are going to know what’s best for real(read: signed to a label) musicians.

The timing isn’t that surprising either, if you consider that only the rich and powerful matter then of course an issue that might affect them will have priority over some piddly little plague and/or protest primarily affecting the poor. If anything that’s the perfect time to slip something like this through, as people are focused on topics that can literally be life or death and therefore don’t have the time or energy to object to this.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rico R. (profile) says:

As a musician, if one of my songs took off and became a "toy" for people to remix, mashup, parody, satirize, etc., I’d consider it the highest form of flattery. Musicians whining about there not being enough copyright are just wanting a bigger payday when it’s the labels at fault for not valuing their artists, keeping both the rights to the music and pay from their sale largely to themselves as the sole beneficiary. And the labels parrot the same complaints about copyright, only to then complain when a Blurred Lines-styled decision comes down and say that copyright has gone too far. You can’t weaken the law and strengthen it at the same time.

I don’t condone it. 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.

Uh… except its not. If it’s truly a parody, it’s likely fair use and not copyright infringement. The Supreme Court even quoted W. Somerset Maugham, "People ask…for criticism but only want praise," when they ruled that effective criticism cannot be considered market harm under the fourth factor, and THAT was in the ruling for a case about a COMMERCIAL PARODY (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music).

The senate’s decision to call in a copyright maximalist musician is not surprising. If they continue down the DMCA 512 path, I suspect they’ll call in Susan Wojcicki and call it a day, if the Copyright Office’s recent report is any indication. The likelihood of calling in someone like Doug Walker is unlikely, as those people weren’t mentioned as stakeholders of any DMCA reform according to the copyright office.

It’s a shame, as I still fear Article 17 is going to be heavily lobbied to be reflected in US law by the copyright industry. And with the presumptive Democratic nominee liking SOPA and killing off the Internet with the removal of section 230 of the CDA, the two-party system means I’ll have to choose between a wannabe dictator who throws temper tantrums on Twitter (while wanting to kill Twitter by gutting CDA 230 at the same time) or someone who, while mildly better for our democracy, still wants to undermine CDA 230 as well as DMCA 512.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
GHB (profile) says:

Lame excuses, Don Henley.

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

Stop being a fucking loyalist. If you’re indifferent of unauthorized uses of work but the law prohibits it, then you’re enforcing against something for no reason just to be a copyright police.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
GHB (profile) says:

Re: Lame excuses, Don Henley.

Youtube is a wasteland where many youtubers risk their channels being wiped from false DMCA claims. Hell even artist themselves risk of a lawsuit for simply taking inspirations of an older song.

Plus, that sentence implies that you’re saying that things that can be fair use and other exemptions of the law should no longer be exempted from copyright protection. Which suggest you wanted copyright to have more power to restrict more harmless acts of using copyrighted materials.

ECA (profile) says:

And still..

the creators and actors Dont get much of anything..
Article started with movies and then Music..
But its all related.

RIAA/MPAA/Corps will get more money then the artists..Period.
How long?? did Shakespeare, get much money After he made the plays?? Not really.. AFTER he died?? NOPE. Family carry the Rights?? NOPE.
Name any authors, Before 1920? 1930? that the family ISNT taking money that they DIDNT EARN THEMSELVES..
This really Isnt for the artists.. Most sold their rights away long ago, and I dont think those are expiring very soon. But what about All the music and vid, that Still not showing up in the Public Domain??
Everyone in the past, has already gotten paid. Many times over. For their services..
The biggest problem is the corps Probably NEVER upgraded the originals, from the OLD TAPE, and the stuff is decaying.. And WHO amung us has the equipment to Make/upgrade the copy?
Do I have to say that the movie industry has Lost a Good share of the Old vids?? Burnt.

Anonymous Coward says:

"People in my age group generally don’t like it. Songs are difficult to write; some of them take years to write."

Songs are difficult to write? Maybe for an old man like him, since the Insane Clown Posse somehow manages to put out a 10-20 track album nearly every 2 years, with a compilation that includes some new songs in between

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