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SGA Lauds Senators’ Move to Protect IP and Songwriters

WASHINGTON -- Leaders of the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), today, announced their support of, and gratitude for, the hard work of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Senator Orin Hatch and Senator Chuck Grassley in their recent introduction of the PROTECT IP Act.

The Act aims at stemming the operation and profit behind rogue websites that are looting America's creative works – looting which has hit songwriters hard.  The Act builds on the efforts of Chairman Leahy, Senator Hatch and their colleagues in the last Congress to close down rogue websites that spread piracy of copyrighted works on the Internet.  

“SGA strongly supported those efforts then; and American songwriters strongly support them now. This legislation is crucial to the protection of American music creators, and we intend to work vigorously in support of its passage,” said Rick Carnes, president of the SGA.

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Digital piracy of copyrighted works presents a dire threat to the music industry.

  • According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), from 2004 through 2009 alone, approximately 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded on file-sharing networks;

  • Frontier Economics recently estimated that U.S. Internet users annually consume between $7 and $20 billion in digitally-pirated music.

Said Carnes, “Because the songwriter and other first-order creators are often the last paid in the chain of copyright payments, this large scale theft affects us the hardest. We are not a large corporation seeking to increase our profit base. We are individual writers seeking to feed our families.”

The SGA works to educate the public about the importance of intellectual property protection and its effect on the music business and creativity. According to the SGA, when artistic creations are stolen rather than purchased, creators cannot be compensated.  When creators are not compensated, the quality and diversity of new works is severely reduced.  Says Carnes, “We are experiencing this result in the music industry today.  The songwriting profession is on the brink of extinction. The beauty and range of American music has suffered greatly.  If intellectual property is America's global competitive advantage, and SGA believes it is, then laws must be strengthened to protect this property.  Today, the proper level of protection doesn’t exist, but this bill would greatly improve the situation.”

Apologists for Internet piracy have seized on populist rhetoric to mask two things:  (1) the economic damage that Internet piracy inflicts on small business persons (such as songwriters and other creators), and (2) the substantial profit that some large organizations can reap from the current disrespect for intellectual property on the Internet.  “These same cynics will likely criticize the PROTECT IP Act, but SGA encourages Congress and all music lovers to persevere.  Internet piracy is ruining America's competitive advantage and threatening its cultural output. The PROTECT IP Act fights back with some real teeth.  SGA strongly encourages its adoption,” said Carnes.

 

 

 

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