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Indie Labels Report Struggle With 'Whack-A-Mole' Digital Takedowns, 30% Have Given Up Trying [SURVEY]

dcA survey conducted by A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) and Future of Music Coalition (FMC) confirms that independent labels are struggling to deal with unauthorized use of their recordings and videos.


Future of Music
A new study by A2IM and Future of Music Coalition asked independent labels of all sizes about their experiences with the DMCA driven notice and takedown system used by YouTube and other sites that publish user generated contact.

The results paint a picture of an industry struggling fight piracy and unlicensed use.

  • 87% of the respondents knew of online infringements of their works, even though 30% did not actively search for infringements of their works.
  • 65% who took action to have the infringing works removed from an online source reported that either it took longer than 24 hours for the infringing work to be removed or that the infringing work was never removed.
  • 68% reported that an infringing copy of their music reappeared on the same service even after that music had previously been taken down—the so-called “whack-a-mole” problem.
  • 65% of those that did not actively search for unauthorized use attributed the reason to not having enough resources to search for infringing activity.
  • 30% also stated that they did not continue searching for infringements because previous enforcement efforts had been unsuccessful.

The three most frequently cited obstacles faced by indie labels include that not enough resources to pursue infringement, an inability to find the contact information to request a takedown, and sites that ignore notices and other complaints. 

Survey results were submitted to the US Copyright Office as part of their study of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“Sadly, the survey confirms that independent labels are significantly harmed by the unauthorized online use of their music and the unnecessarily tortuous notice and takedown process,” said Richard James Burgess, CEO of A2IM.

“Independent labels play a crucial role in the careers of artists of every genre; many are run by musicians themselves.” said Dick Huey, interim Executive Director of FMC. “As policymakers weigh changes to copyright law, the unique needs of the independent sector and all the diverse music communities they serve must be a central consideration.”

Download the full survey (pdf).