MY LETTER TO THE RECORDING ACADEMY, RE: "TAKE DOWN NOTICES"

On February 10, 2016 I submitted this letter via email to the Recording Academy regarding the overly burdensome "take-down notice" provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Dear Recording Academy:

I”m writing to express my support for the Recording Academy as they file comments regarding the overly burdensome “take down notice” provision of the DMCA. I, like so many of my colleagues have been steadily beaten down by a process that not only feels hopeless, but is often dangerous. Let me explain:

Like many artists and record labels, I created a Google Alert which notifies me whenever phrases like "Ben Allison Free mp3” or any of my tune titles or album titles and the words “free” or “download" appear on the internet.

I receive several such notices every day and have for the past 8 years or so, which speaks to the shear volume of illegal uploads. Occasionally, I take time out of my work day to click the links to see what’s been posted and where. Too often, I’m redirected to “click-through” sites, which are only intended to keep the user clicking. Windows pop up and disappear, and I’m often redirected automatically several times before actually landing on a page. I'm guessing there’s revenue being generated for somebody by all of these clicks and auto-forwards.

Eventually, if I click through enough times I might end up on a site where there are actual download links.  However, the danger comes when I check the links to see what files actually download (which I feel I must do before requesting a “take down”). Sometimes the links initiate download of actual mp3s of my music, but many times they include malware, viruses or other dangerous files.

The whole process is very time consuming and dangerous for small businesses like mine to protect their property. The only way this will ever change is if the idea of “safe harbor” is updated and the onus moves to the companies who host files (including music) to get permission from rights holders prior to posting files or allowing them to be posted by users.

ISPs have a role to play as well in helping to curb this problem and should not be given a free pass. For instance, entering the phrase “Ben Allison Free mp3” into Google generates 415,000 results (screen shot attached).  I believe they could do a better job of working with the music community to make it harder for people to find illegally uploaded music.

Thanks for continuing the good fight.

Sincerely,

Ben Allison Bassist/Composer Sonic Camera Records Vice President, Advocacy chair, Recording Academy, NY