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Grammy Winner Launches Scathing Attack on Google over Piracy

Posted by: , 12:14 AEST, Fri May 20, 2016

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Says Google/Alphabet guilty of criminal racketeering for encouraging users to upload pirated content to YouTube
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Image/Photo Credit: davidnicholson1978 @ Flickr, CC

Multi Grammy Award winner Maria Schneider has called out Google for profiting from music piracy, in a submission to the US Copyright Office for changes to the existing DMCA regime.

Schneider, who most recently won three Grammys for her album 'Winter Morning Walks', not only feels that Google hasn't done enough to prevent piracy, a view shared by many in the music industry, but also believes that Google is actively and purposefully profiting from piracy. 

In her submission, Schneider states that "YouTube is guilty of criminal racketeering", and that the company is abusing the "outdated" DMCA for their own gains.

"YouTube has thoroughly twisted, contorted, and abused the original meaning of the outdated DMCA ‘safe harbor’ to create a massive income redistribution scheme, where income is continually transferred from the pockets of musicians and creators of all types, and siphoned directly into their own pockets," Schneider writes in her open letter.

Using strongly loaded language, Schneider continues to state reasons why she thinks YouTube is deliberately profiting from piracy. Most of Schneider's argument relates to YouTube's upload system and the company's fair use and take-down policy, which Schneider believes is biased towards uploaders, not rights-holders. Schneider is also concerned about the entry requirements into YouTube's anti-piracy Content ID system, as not everyone can be accepted into the program.

And Schneider says none of these actions by YouTube and its parent company Google/Alphabet, is accidental, but rather a "scheme" to siphon revenue from rights-holders into their own pockets, and actually encourages users to behave badly to further their aim.

"The sweeping influence of their scam has succeeded in dismantling copyright from the inside, like a flesh-eating virus, influencing citizens to destroy themselves. Any company influencing behavior like this, especially for the purposes of eroding Constitutional rights, should lose their safe harbor," she adds.

As for a solution, Schneider shares the same talking point that have increasingly been heard from the copyright lobby, that is for Google to implement a "take down, stay down" regime, as well as actively checking and preventing uploads of copyright content, disregarding fair use if necessary.

Schneider also believes rights-holder's identities should remain private when they submit a take-down requests, even if said request is invalid to prevent "intimidation" from the general Internet public.


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