Saturday, October 31, 2020

Don Henley: “Copyright Office clearly has not been a strong enough advocate for copyright owners”

the-eagles-1Rolling Stone is notoriously left-wing, but one would hope that left-wing does not necessarily mean irrational. In an attempt to prove this dictum wrong, Rolling Stone magazine ran a story last week that pins The Eagles’ Don Henley as “surprisingly conservative,” simply because he wishes to protect his songs from being used by any political party for whatever purpose.

We don’t license our songs for political purposes, just as we don’t license them for commercial uses. We don’t write these songs for the purpose of selling products or people.

Why Rolling Stone would pigeonhole Henley as a “conservative” simply because he doesn’t give away his livelihood is beyond comprehension (or, maybe it isn’t). They’re probably more upset because he didn’t have the lyin’ eyes, or make the usual political distinction “free culture”individuals usually do (fair use for liberals; strict copyright enforcement for conservatives). Henley is pretty clear about their music: they don’t make their property for Obama or McCain, Palin or Pelosi. Period.There will be a heartache tonight!

His views on the Copyright Office are just as critical and blunt:

[T]he U.S. Copyright Office clearly has not been a strong enough advocate for copyright owners, particularly when you look at its most recent decisions. …Because the Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress, and the mission of a library is to provide free access to the public, there is an inherent conflict of interest. Perhaps the time has come to separate these institutions so that they are not at cross-purposes. …[S]ince U.S. music, film and other creative copyrights comprise one of our country’s most lucrative sectors, here and abroad, moving the Copyright Office under Commerce Department’s umbrella might be the most effective way of enforcing the law.

It is so refreshing and welcoming to finally have a famous artist speak out on behalf of artists, their property, and their copyrights. Check out Henley’s other views on copyright, the DMCA, file-sharing, and music here.


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