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Trent Reznor recently took aim at Google and YouTube, telling Billboard, “Personally, I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous.” He continued, explaining, It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that’s how they got that big. I think any free-tiered service is not fair.” A lot of other musicians share Reznor’s stance on YouTube and the DMCA, with Taylor Swift, Vince Staples, Paul McCartney, and U2 among many others signing an open letter to Congress asking to rewrite the legislation used by YouTube and other internet platforms.
Recode reports that the three big labels, Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music, have taken out ads regarding the letter in a number of political publications. Complaining about the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which many consider outdated by now, artists and labels don’t believe that Google give them enough money for use of their music on the site. The open letter also says that YouTube doesn’t give them that much of a choice on how their music is used.
Google is arguing that YouTube generates billions of dollars for the music industry and that their tools make it easier than ever for music owners to control their works, but many still aren’t happy with the current situation, particularly the organizer of the letter, Irving Azoff. Speaking with Recode, Azoff explained, “If you [are] one of the big labels, and you continue to do business with YouTube the way you currently have, that’s a bad sign for all the people that signed that letter.”
He continued, “I would be shocked, after supporting all these artists in a letter to Congress, [if] these big labels would turn around and make voluntary extensions to YouTube. It’s not just about the money. It’s about control and what we leave behind in the future,” he said. “This isn’t a fee dispute. It’s far deeper. That’s why it’s really dangerous for anybody to hide behind the DMCA if they need a relationship with anybody in the music business.”
Read more about the open letter here.