Washington, D.C. – Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid issued the following statement commending Senator Tillis for his year-long review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) concluding today with the Senator’s release of discussion draft legislation titled the Digital Copyright Act of 2021:
“We thank Chairman Tillis for spearheading a comprehensive and thoughtful year-long Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee review of the DMCA that helped shine a spotlight on critical concerns and shortfalls of Section 512 of the DMCA. We now look forward to reviewing and considering the proposed draft and working with Senator Tillis, members of the Subcommittee, the U.S. Copyright Office, and other stakeholders on how to reinvigorate the balance that Congress intended when it first passed the DMCA over 22 years ago.
“During the 2020 hearings, countless creators and copyright owners shared their stories of infringement and spoke about the ineffectiveness of Section 512 of the DMCA. While all copyright owners are harmed by rampant online infringement, it is individual creators and small businesses who are most devastated. They have urged reform of the DMCA’s Section 512 because they have no other means to protect themselves.
“If the internet platforms would negotiate in good faith with the copyright community, many of our concerns with Section 512 could be addressed voluntarily. Unfortunately, since they have not done so, we must now consider potential legislative solutions, including the discussion draft released today. This draft represents the first step in what will likely be a long road toward a workable compromise and, again, we are grateful to Chairman Tillis for starting us down this path.”
Quotes from Copyright Alliance member organizations in support of the discussion draft include the following:
It’s high time that American copyright law evolves to better suit the digital age, promote lawful online distribution and give creators a fighting chance against copyright theft. A2IM applauds Senator Tillis for recognizing this need and presenting a discussion draft that aims to push dominant internet platforms to do more. We commit to vigorous engagement in the process Senator Tillis has begun. — American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
The American Society for Collective Rights Licensing represents approximately 16,000 individual illustrators and photographers in, or with works published in, the United States. Of these, a significant number routinely confront online infringement issues which the DMCA has been ill-equipped to resolve. We want to thank Chairman Tillis for leading an effort for reform that will result in a fair, balanced, and equitable solution for all of the stakeholders concerned with Section 512. It is an effort critical to the rights and the livelihood of this business community. — American Society for Collective Rights Licensing (ASCRL)
We thank Chairman Tillis for his leadership of the process to reform section 512 of the DMCA, and especially for his commitment to ensure that the law responds to the needs of small, individual creators whose livelihoods are being devastated by rampant online piracy. We are grateful to Chairman Tillis and his office for overseeing an open and thorough process, and for facilitating involvement by individual creators. In the last ten years, the Authors Guild has seen an explosion in the number of complaints about ebook and audiobook piracy that it receives, and at the same time, authors report universal frustration with the whack-a-mole nature of notice and takedown, which is authors’ and other independent creators’ sole remedy, yet it has done nothing to actually curtail piracy. While large copyright owners have the resources and bargaining power to enter into voluntary agreements (outside of the notice and takedown system) with large internet platforms to enforce their copyrights and monetize their content, small copyright owners and individual creators, like the 10,000 Authors Guild members, are left without recourse. The draft reform bill incorporates changes into the law that will help these creators, as well as improve the ability to have redress against dishonest takedown notices, which is also important for authors. It is a strong first step toward restoring the balance between the interests of copyright owners and internet services providers as Congress intended when it first passed the DMCA in 1998. — Authors Guild
We thank Chairman Tillis for addressing the DMCA notice and takedown process through the release of this important discussion draft. The rich visual culture in the United States is thanks to the artists — illustrators, designers, fine artists, photographers, and others — who labor to create the works which enrich the technology platforms society benefits from. However, rampant online infringement means that too often these artists are unable to profit fairly from their labor. We are grateful to Senator Tillis for providing stakeholders with an opportunity for much needed reform to the DMCA process, which will protect creators while continuing to provide a rewarding experience for Internet users. — Graphic Artists Guild
Currently, visual journalists, who cannot work from home, risk their health and safety every day covering the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters of public concern. Adding that to the peril of today’s economy, the importance of vigorous and effective remedies for copyright infringement cannot be overstated so that we may be able to earn a fair living, support ourselves and our families, and contribute to society. Copyright infringement reduces that economic incentive dramatically. This in turn abridges press freedoms by discouraging participation in this field, particularly by those in underrepresented groups. It also devalues photography as both a news medium and an art form, thereby eroding the quality of life and freedom of expression that are part of this great nation. We recognize that the rights of photographers and the needs of users must be integrated into a functioning system that incentivizes and rewards creativity and innovation while simultaneously acknowledging the inherent right of visual creators to exercise control over the use of our images. We thank Chairman Tillis for his efforts addressing issues pertaining to the DMCA and look forward to working with him and other legislators to find an equitable resolution to our concerns. — National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)
News publishers rely on robust copyright protections to provide reliable and trustworthy news and information to the communities they serve. The DMCA is in dire need of revisions to rebalance the copyright system and to help protect copyright owners in the digital ecosystem. We applaud Chairman Tillis for undertaking this immensely important project and for being a consistent champion for the creative industries. NMA stands ready to work with Senator Tillis and other congressional leaders to effect meaningful copyright reforms that support news publishers and other copyright owners. — News Media Alliance
Strong copyright protections are critical to our members and their ability to reap the benefits of their performances. We rely on copyright owners’ fully exploiting their work to ensure our collectively bargained residuals payments, and corresponding health and pension plan contributions, remain intact. The world of entertainment has evolved dramatically in the digital era. Our copyright laws must evolve to keep pace, and they must be crafted to allow the creative community to thrive alongside the technology community. At present, they thrive at our expense. We thank Chairman Tillis for taking a hard look at the DMCA, and we look forward to working to find the equitable way forward. — SAG-AFTRA
As an organization that was formed around the need to advocate for copyright protection, its incentives are essential to SIIA members. We commend Senator Tillis for the transparency in the process that he has held in the development of his discussion draft. To the extent that the discussion draft contains provisions relating to the administration of the U.S. Copyright Office that we have historically supported, such as modernization of the registration and deposit requirements, we welcome its further legislative deliberation. — Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
ABOUT THE COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE
The Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest and educational organization representing the copyright interests of over 1.8 million individual creators and over 13,000 organizations in the United States, across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators. For more information, please visit www.copyrightalliance.org.