Maria Schneider: Taking Action against ‘Data Lords’

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When Maria Schneider (pictured) testified before Congress about the current U.S. copyright law’s (DMCA) notice and takedown provisions, she urged legislators to make major changes.

(Photo: Jimmy Katz)

When Maria Schneider testified before Congress about the current U.S. copyright law’s (DMCA) notice and takedown provisions, she urged legislators to make four major changes:

1) Congress should require streaming services that want protection from copyright infringement lawsuits to effectively educate their users on creators’ rights, including a commonsense set of “checkpoints” at the time of upload. Uploaders should have to sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, verifying ownership, permission or precise grounds of “fair use”—just as copyright owners must do for a takedown.

2) The use of fingerprinting technology (like YouTube’s Content ID) should be required of all streaming services. Fingerprinting for blocking uploads should be offered to all copyright holders, without discrimination.

3) Companies should be required to use and share the best technologies available to prevent infringement.

4) “Take down” should mean “stay down,” so that musicians are not stuck in an endless game of “whack-a-mole.”

Schneider and other songwriters founded MusicAnswers.org to educate and mobilize musicians as well as consumers. “Every musician and fan should sign onto our campaign,” Schneider said. “Go to MusicAnswers.org, get educated and sign our Declaration of Principles. Google and other large corporations heavily lobby Congress. But we have our numbers and our stories. We need everyone on board, so we can become a massive force to be reckoned with.

“The music-buying public needs to understand which music sites to patronize and which to avoid. We care so much about the sourcing of our food and our clothing. We want music fans to be just as careful about the sourcing of their music.” DB



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