Yesterday, Eagles frontman Don Henley spoke to Congress about a truly important issue currently affecting the world: People putting videos of Eagles songs up on YouTube. As the Associated Press reports, Henley, speaking from his home in California, testified remotely before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, arguing for changes in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Henley’s problem with the DMCA is its notice-and-takedown provision. If someone posts an unauthorized song or video on a site like YouTube, the copyright holder can issue a takedown notice, and the site will have to take it down. If the sites comply, there are no legal consequences. This isn’t good enough for Henley. Talking to the subcommittee, Henley called the law “a relic of a MySpace era in a TikTok world” and complained that it “still allows big Tech to rake in revenue” even after infringements.
As IP Watchdog reports, Henley was also upset over the Washington Post, which last week published an op-ed criticizing the Senate’s decision to listen to Henley while holding off on working for further public relief in the face of the pandemic. (Since then, there have been a few other matters that the Senate could also be addressing.) Since the Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, Henley saw the op-ed as an attempt to intimidate him: “I’ve been targeted by the digital gatekeepers. Big tech was probably hoping this hearing would be canceled or that I’d be intimidated and not testify.”
The North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis seemed to agree with Henley during the hearing, saying, “Piracy has become easier and faster and much, much more common. The current system is failing, and it’s failing badly.” He also told Henley that the Eagles had been his first concert.