Don Henley, the songwriter of the rock band Eagles, has asked Congress to, in the band’s words, “Take It to the Limit” in ridding the internet of online piracy and protecting artists’ rights. In so doing, he has put himself at the center of a copyright battle that pits the recording industry and Hollywood against massive tech platforms like YouTube.
The 1970s hitmaker testified from his home to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that is considering changes to the 1998 copyright law. As the law stands, copyright holders can formally request those who they believe have uploaded their content without permission to remove it, and the copyright infringement claim may be disputed. If they comply, there are no legal consequences. If they don’t, they may incur criminal penalties.
Henley believes that the law is too weak and must be changed to effectively stop online piracy. The “notice and takedown” procedure is used by entertainment companies, movie and recording studios, book authors and software developers to go after universities, tech platforms and other file-sharing facilitators.
Henley referred to the current copyright law as “a relic of a MySpace era in a TikTok world,” and he pointed out that big tech companies can still bring in revenue after multiple copyright infringements.