Don Henley Testifies Before Congress Against ‘Big Tech’

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Don Henley, testifying to Congress, from his home on June 2, 2020

Don Henley urged a Senate Judiciary subcommittee today (June 2) to change “outdated” copyright laws that are benefitting “the digital gatekeepers” such as YouTube at the expense of “my brothers and sisters in the creative community.”

Testifying from his home, the Eagles co-founder said, “I want to change or improve outdated laws and regulations that have been abused for over 20 years by big tech.”

Henley was dressed in a conservative suit, looking far different than fans are used to seeing one of the world’s leading classic rock stars.

“At age 73,” he said, “I am in the final chapter of my career. But I come here out of a sense of duty and obligation to those artists and those creators who paved the road for me and my contemporaries and for those who will travel this road after us.”

Henley specifically targeted Google’s YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. “It is clear that the massive online services are flourishing while artists have no ability to combat the rampant infringement that occurs on these platforms,” he said.

The Eagles are known for having material removed from various digital platforms when it violates their own copyrights. Fan clips at their concerts typically “disappear” within days, often in just hours.

“I have worked hard to establish my career and reputation and I have enjoyed success,” said Henley. “But for me, this is a matter of principle. I am speaking out for the songwriters and recording artists who are struggling to make a living, particularly now when our industry has been decimated by the pandemic. We need equitable compensation for the rights guaranteed to authors under the constitution.”

Henley called the existing copyright law “a relic of a MySpace era in a TikTok world.”

Watch Henley’s testimony

The subcommittee chairman, Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, said “piracy has become easier and faster and much, much more common. The current system is failing and it’s failing badly.” The bi-partisan issue is also supported by Democratic Senators.

Henley’s testimony came on the same day that the music industry, and many others, observed “Blackout Tuesday” as a day of reflection on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Related: Eagles have moved the remaining dates of their Hotel California tour to 2021

He prefaced his remarks by saying, “I come here, today, with a heavy heart, mindful of the chaos and pain that has engulfed this nation. I am aware that many in my industry have chosen this date to observe a day of inactivity and quiet contemplation. In being present, here, I mean no disrespect to those who have chosen to set aside this day. I wish to state, for the record, that I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the creative community, and with all my fellow citizens who seek a better, more just world, for everyone.”

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

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  1. xjug
    #1 xjug 3 June, 2020, 07:41

    The bi-partisan issue is also supported by Democratic Senators. – if the issue is bi-partisan, why mention Democrats? Because they’re so insanely partisan its a miracle they’d support anything “bi” partisan?

    Reply this comment
  2. JCB
    #2 JCB 3 June, 2020, 09:02

    He’s a 1000% right. Artist’s are being robbed of their product big time.

    Reply this comment
  3. TammyB
    #3 TammyB 3 June, 2020, 16:39

    Don Henley is such a hypocrite. He’s always been against big enterprises and their greediness. However, he and his band continue to go and tour and could care less that their ticket prices are astronomically ridiculous. He is as greedy and uncaring as any big business there is out there. He’s just upset that he’s missing out on another nickel.

    Reply this comment
  4. bandit
    #4 bandit 4 June, 2020, 01:30

    you don’t have to pay the piper? it’s
    his show, do don’t
    complain

    Reply this comment
  5. Player
    #5 Player 4 June, 2020, 07:26

    Greed is correct. Don and Glen Frey decided when the band reunited they would get a larger share of the revenue than the rest of the band. Ask Don Felder how he feels about these two money mizers . Great Rock performers with high ticket prices an an arrogance to go along with it.

    Reply this comment
  6. james
    #6 james 4 June, 2020, 11:03

    “The Eagles?” Never heard of them. That band never existed. There is a great band called “Eagles” that Don Henley and Glenn Fry started in 1971. Someone should educate the writer of this piece on “Best Classic Bands” that one might get that point clear. Who cares? The band cares.

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  7. Hut
    #7 Hut 1 August, 2020, 10:40

    There are so many great bands that actually want me to hear their music. I couldn’t care less about these old fossils…

    Reply this comment

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