Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney among artists petitioning for digital copyright reform

Over 160 artists and record labels say the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is unfair to songwriters

Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney are among over 160 artists and record labels calling for digital copyright reform by way of petition.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) came into being in 1998, long before streaming services dominated the industry. Now, artists and industry figures are asking for it to be changed to protect songwriters against copyright infringement.

A petition has been organised by music manager Irving Azoff, according to Rolling Stone, who says that YouTube provides a “safe harbour” for infringement under the current iteration of the DMCA.

His petition claims that the DMCA “has allowed major tech companies to grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish.”

Major labels are reportedly unhappy with the way negotiations with those governing the DMCA and YouTube have gone, accusing the DMCA of giving the streaming service unfair leverage.

Nine Inch Nails‘ Trent Reznor, who is involved with Apple Music as Chief Creative Officer, recently spoke out against YouTube, saying it was “built on the backs of free, stolen content”.

He continued: “I think any free-tiered service is not fair. We’re [Apple Music] trying to build a platform that provides an alternative – where you can get paid and an artist can control where their [content] goes.”