A coalition composed of 400 artists and music groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America, is clamoring for the United States Congress to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998.
The coalition is claiming that the DMCA, which was signed into law back in 1998 by President Bill Clinton as a precursor to copyright laws for the digital age, is "obsolete, dysfunctional and harmful."
The law provided a safe harbor to Internet service platforms, allowing them not to be liable for violations such as piracy as long as they are able to process takedown requests and deal with repeat offenders.
Over the past few years, however, the DMCA has been a cause of controversy. On one end, holders of rights to content are saying that the law does not do enough to protect content creators, while on the other end, there are warnings of abuse and censorship if the law is further tightened.
The RIAA, along with the rest of the coalition, argues that the approach of providing takedown notices to violators does not do much to prevent privacy because of the massive amount of pirated content online. To circumvent the takedown, pirates can simply upload the same content on a slightly different web address, which will have the pirated content available once again.
The coalition is also claiming that the safe harbor provisions provided by the DMCA to Internet service platforms are too kind, as some websites continue to profit from piracy.
The music industry is looking for stricter control that would keep pirated content offline. Proposed measures include methods such as audio fingerprinting, which will detect pirated content across multiple sources, and takedown requests affecting not just one link but the entire website where the link is located.
The coalition is also looking to reduce the scope of safe harbor provisions by removing them for any website that is aware of any piracy that is taking place.
Much of the concern of the RIAA and its allies centers on Google, with the coalition convinced that the Internet giant knowingly benefits from pirated content, in addition to abusing safe harbor provisions to keep search results and YouTube videos containing pirated content online.
This is despite Google increasing its takedowns of links due to copyright violations by over a billion percent since 2006, when the company really started to enforce the DMCA.