John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Beth Orton, Mekons & more sign petition for “basic fairness in the digital marketplace”
John Zorn, Beth Orton, Bill Frisell, Mekons, Marc Ribot, Nels Cline, Laurie Anderson, Panda Bear, Rosanne Cash, Thao Nguyen, Crystal Waters, Boots Riley, Bela Fleck, and more musicians have signed a petition from Music Workers Alliance that aims to help artists who are all struggling during the coronavirus pandemic and calls for "basic fairness in the digital marketplace":
At market closing on April 10th, while tens of thousands of musicians and DJs across the country tried to access unemployment benefits, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Larry Page of Google/Youtube had earned $6.2 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively, for the week, according to Forbes. On that same day, the Music Workers Alliance launched an emergency petition directed to Facebook, Google and YouTube asking for relief and justice.
The petition has already gathered over 3000 signatures — among them some of the most accomplished musicians and DJs from all genres. We call on these corporations to pay 1% of their ad revenue to a relief fund for the “content creators” whose unpaid labor generates much of their wealth. Live music work is shut down and will likely remain so for more than a year. This relief fund must be made available to music workers for the whole duration of the shutdown. Furthermore, recorded work is not a viable income alternative due to the mass copyright infringement enabled by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act section 512. The MWA petition calls for these corporations to put an end to infringement by adopting “Standard Technical Measures" (STMs).
Restoration of a fair digital market is impossible while YouTube — responsible for nearly half of all online music consumption — continues to profit while enabling mass infringement.
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed many weaknesses in our social safety net and labor laws. The predicament of musical artists — the original gig workers — is particularly poignant. With live performance shut down, music workers’ ongoing calls to address online infringement by adopting STM’s carries new urgency.
Beth Orton says, "With so much financial destabilisation for musicians it is more important than ever for digital profit sharing to be equitable and fair," while Marc Ribot adds, “All my work is shut down through June, with more cancellations expected. If we don't deal -- NOW -- with the mass online infringement that has destroyed our ability to make money from recording, then soon WE’RE going to be shut down.”
You can learn more about the petition, and sign it, here.