Ex-Eagle Henley Not a Fan of Current Copyright System

Just a few weeks after settling a copyright infringement against California Republican senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore, musician Don Henley lashed out at the current state of copyright laws in the U.S.

Henley settled his lawsuit over the unauthorized use of two songs— All She Wants to Do Is Dance and The Boys of Summer— with DeVore for an undisclosed amount of money. DeVore had claimed that the versions he used were parodies, but a judge ruled that the politician’s use did infringe on Henley’s copyrights.

The whole situation must have soured Henley. When asked by Rolling Stone what needs to be changed about U.S. enforcement of copyright, Henley answered:

While the onus of legally pursuing infringement has always been on copyright owners, the 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.

Henley continued, offering his view on how to fight online copyright infringement:

Congress should amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), eliminating or dramatically limiting the Safe Harbor provisions so that ISPs [Internet service providers] and websites such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook have legal liability for hosting infringing content.

The recording industry was bullied by online retailers into removing protective measures, such as DRM, from their sound recordings or else facing the prospect of these retailers refusing to distribute their catalogs. Yet, so far, digital royalties on music have failed to live up to the hype; in fact, removing such protective measures has increased the theft of music and other intellectual property.

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  1. 0
    Spartan says:

    Shoot as far as I’m concerned copyright should be the same length of time as a patent and both should not exceed a total of 25 years in my opinion.

    Remember the whole point of intellectual property is to provide "incentive" to create more for SOCIETY’S benefit, not to create a lifetime revenue stream or two or thee…


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  2. 0
    vaccine says:

    It’s interesting he says that digital sales haven’t generated as much as he would have liked.

    Under his proposed system of removing music from the net, many people would not be exposed to anywhere near as much music as they currently are. Take youtube for example, most music accompanying home made videos there are probably considered copyright infringements. But I’ve personally found scores of new artists, or ones I’d never heard of, from youtube videos of other subject matter that the user has added as a soundtrack, and subsequently purchased that artists music (either digitally or physically) and those are sales I’d never have made if music was locked down on the net.


  3. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    So this guy thinks current copyright law is too permissive, and the RIAA is the victim of bullying?  What the hell is he smoking?

    Love the Eagles, btw, and own several of their albums (legitimately, of course).

  4. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Ironic, only in that you don’t seem to realize that the "man with the briefcase" was the guy stealing his music.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  5. 0
    asmodai says:

    This from the man that wrote..


    Gimme What You Got
    Baby picks off your plate-yours looks better
    And she throws hers on the floor
    Here, in the home of the brave
    And the land of the free
    The first word that baby learns is more
    So you’re out there floating like a big, puffy cloud
    With the pool and the charcoal
    And the kids and the wife
    ’til the reruns of your dreams are interrupted
    And you step out into life

    And it’s still gimme, gimme what you got
    I said gimme, gimme what you got
    (I want it, I want it)
    Gimme, gimme what you got
    Now it’s take and take and takeover, takeover
    It’s all take and never give

    All these trumped up towers
    They’re just golden showers
    Where are people supposed to live?
    You can arm yourself, alarm yourself
    But there’s nowhere you can run
    ’cause a man with a briefcase
    Can steal more money
    Than any man with a gun

    I said gimme, gimme what you got
    Said gimme, gimme what you got
    Gimme, gimme what you got
    Gimme, gimme what you got
    You got the price of admission
    You don’t have to ask permission
    To take somethin’ from another man
    You cross a lawyer with the godfather, baby
    Make you an offer that you can’t understand
    From main street to wall street to washington

    From men to women to men
    It’s a nation of noses pressed up against the glass
    They’ve seen it on the tv
    And they want it pretty fast
    You spend your whole life
    Just pilin’ it up there
    You got stack and stacks and stacks
    Then, gabriel comes and taps you on the shoulder
    But you don’t see no hearses with luggage racks

    Gimme, gimme what you got
    I said gimme, gimme what you got
    I said gimme, gimme what you got
    (I want it, I want it)
    Gimme, gimme what you got

    Ironic, no?

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Now we’re talking compromise.  25/25 is acceptable – long enough, without being overkill – as compared to Zippy’s whole "copyright owners get NOTHING!" approach.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  7. 0
    DorthLous says:

    25/25 seems like a marvelous compromise to me. The problem started when corporations started getting the status of "person" in face of the law. While a human can aspire to about 50 years of productive life, a corporation can span centuries and that is a dire problem!

  8. 0
    Technogeek says:

    I’ve been considering the Disney situation for a while, and what I’m leaning towards as a solution is a sort of copyright-trademark hybrid called "iconic trademark".

    In its current conceptual form, registering an iconic trademark would require a trademark that acts as a core part of copyrighted material and is being actively used in newly produced material (for example, if Disney stopped making games or cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse, he would no longer be eligible for protection — and simply shoving him in as a cameo wouldn’t work). The cost of registering an iconic trademark would recur on a yearly basis, and increase for each iconic trademark already owned.

    As far as protection goes, the holder of an iconic trademark would have the exclusive right to produce new material, as well as for-profit derivative works of existing material featuring the iconic trademark. Reproductions, rearrangements, or non-profit derivative works of existing material not otherwise protected by copyright could however be freely produced.

    Assuming for demonstration purposes that the 25/25 limit suggested above would be retroactively imposed alongside the iconic trademark, this would allow a "Disney Classics" collection featuring cartoons at least 50 years old to be distributed by anyone (since it’s hard to believe that Disney wouldn’t renew). However, creating new cartoons starring any iconic-protected Disney characters would be heavily restricted. (Tying this back into the whole ‘videogames’ thing this site is supposedly about: a fangame set in the Kingdom Hearts universe, for example, would be impossible until 2052 at the earliest, while a game based on Dumbo or The Three Caballeros could be freely distributed on a non-profit basis.)

  9. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    And this is an issue caused almost directly by the obscene increase in copyright lifespan. Fading artists, orphaned works, warez etc, would all be of little issue if we didn’t have nearly 2 century long copyright spans. 

    That was one of the wonders of the original spans of copyright. You had 14 years with an option to renew for another 14 years. So you had 14 years to make money and review your success. If you thought you could make use of the additional 14 years of copyright, you could renew it and continue making money. If the original 14 years were not to your liking, you could ignore it and it would go into the public domain.

    I would o love for that to come back.  I would even go as far as compromising and giving copyright owners 25 years with an option to renew for an additional 25 years.

    But with the likes of Disney and the rights owners of the Beatles and Elvis to fight, that will never happen.

    But when it comes to works with limited lifespan such as gaming, we suffer because of it.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  10. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    He tried to get down to the Heart of the Matter, but in a New York minute, he suddenly missed the point that the problem wasn’t the existence of the DRM, but the methodologies involved. There has to be a way to protect one persons’ privacy that doesn’t involve invading someone else’s.

    I buy almost my entire Media collection, there are one or two downloads, but that’s a question of avilalability over criminality. It’s ok for bands such as the Eagles, when they re-release a greatest hits album, they can be certain of some income for it, so it’s always easy to get Eagles music legally, however, you just try getting hold of some of the rarer artists.

    I’m all for the fact that performing artists need their property protected, however, what happens when interest in them fades and the record companies don’t even produce their music any more? Are we supposed to simply rent the stuff from an Audio library and then copy it onto our own media, which is what would inevitably be the outcome, still Piracy, it’s just that they can carry on pretending it’s not happening?

    I think that’s what bothers them to be honest, not the existence of it, but the fact it is happening in front of their faces, instead of behind closed doors, and in that respect, and to a certain degree, I can understand how that could be infuriating.

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