The head of the recording industry's main trade group, the RIAA, says that the DMCA take-down regime is outdated and broken, and is no longer able to deal with the current state of music piracy.
And this inability to effectively fight piracy, the RIAA's Cary Sherman says, is why the perceived value of music has decreased, and why the industry has to accept "below-market rates" for music licensing.
Sherman made these claims in an op-ed in Forbes, responding to a recent column by Forbes's Hugh McIntyre about the dropping perceived value of music.
Apart from what Sherman calls a "value gap" caused by the current flawed licensing regime, used to good effect by services like Sirius XM and AM/FM radio, the problem, Sherman identifies, is with the industry's inability to fight piracy via the existing legal infrastructure. In particularly, Sherman criticizes the DMCA take-down process, which no longer works in today's environment.
"In exchange for a legal “safe harbor” from liability, online service providers must deal with instances of theft occurring on their site or network when notified,", Sherman writes.
"Unfortunately, while the system worked when isolated incidents of infringement occurred on largely static web pages—as was the case when the law was passed in 1998—it is largely useless in the current world where illegal links that are taken down reappear instantaneously. The result is a never-ending game that is both costly and increasingly pointless."
Sherman blames online music distributors, such as Spotify, taking advantage of this situation by forcing the industry to accept "below-market deals", or face the full onslaught of piracy, which Sherman labels as a Hobson's choice.
In conclusion, Sherman calls for an update to the "antiquated law" to reflect and respond to "new technology and business models".