Mass “address unknown” filings to the copyright office allow companies like Amazon and YouTube to avoid paying royalties to songwriters. I have downloaded these massive files from the copyright office website and found that the “address unknown” filings are preposterous. For instance nearly the entire Beach Boys catalogue is listed as address unknown by one of the major Silicon Valley digital services. This may seem a little down in the weeds, but this new tactic employed by Silicon Valley firms has the potential to deprive songwriters of tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year. This looks like more loophole exploiting by Silicon Valley, in the same way they tried to exploit the pre-1972 sound recording copyrights.
Can’t this assholes just once play by the rules? Most ordinary Americans play by the rules, why can’ these guys? Drunk on arrogance and power?
Fortunately this will likely end the same way the pre-1972 sound recordings fiasco ended. Kudos to Sabec for providing the tools to help songwriters stop this new outrage.
We’re going to assume that readers know the general background on the millions of “address unknown” NOIs filed with the Copyright Office under a loophole in the Copyright Act (Sec. 115(c)(1)).
The nutshell summary: Starting April of last year, Google, Amazon, Pandora and other on-demand digital services using compulsory licenses began filing very large numbers of “address unknown NOIs” for compulsory mechanical licenses with the Copyright Office. These filings were implemented through a taxpayer funded customized electronic filing process that allows services to exploit songs for free–no royalty is payable. The Copyright Office created this customized platform for these services about the time that the Copyright Office announced a reduced fee structure for this customized electronic filing process that increases the burden on songwriters. (Even though Pandora has yet to launch its on-demand music service, Pandora appears to have served the Copyright Office with well over 1,000,000 address unknown…
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