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BIZ TO BIDEN: GIVE US A SEAT AT THE TABLE

In a letter congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the music industry is urging the duo to appoint individuals to their team who understand the creative community and intellectual-property issues.

Nearly two dozen music organizations were signatories to the letter, which states, “It is imperative that your team’s participants appropriately represent not just the tech platforms and services that profit from the use of our creative works, but the creators and owners of the works themselves.”

The letter further notes, “The complexities of music creation and consumption make it crucial that someone on your team understands the industry; this is the first step in protecting our country’s cherished music creators and ensuring the U.S. will continue to be the global leader in music.”

Here's the full letter:

November 30, 2020

Dear President-elect Biden:

We represent the dynamic American music community and congratulate you and Vice President-elect Harris on your victory in the 2020 election. We look forward to a strong and meaningful relationship with you and your administration in the years to come.

We are particularly appreciative of your consistent dedication to the protection of intellectual property. As you work with your transition team, we hope and trust that you will continue to recognize the valuable contributions of our country’s creative sector and the importance of securing laws and regulations that protect American creativity. It is imperative that your team’s participants appropriately represent not just the tech platforms and services that profit from the use of our creative works, but the creators and owners of the works themselves. We would be happy to provide you with the names of individuals who would effectively round out your team in this way.

The creative sector plays a vital role in the U.S. economy. The core copyright-based industries add $1.3 trillion to our country’s GDP and support the employment of 5.7 million Americans. The U.S. music industry alone drives $143 billion in GDP to the U.S. economy. But these data points simply cannot capture the true significance of music in our global society.  Music’s contribution to our history, culture and national identity is too important to forget—and it must be protected. American music continues to be a vital financial and cultural export helping to unite people around the world. As you know from personal experience, music sets the stage for a campaign, energizes calls to action and inspires citizens across every generation. It wakes us in the morning, lulls us to sleep and gives meaning to everything in between. During this challenging time, when so much of life as we know it has been disrupted, the music continues to play and uplift the spirits of millions of Americans.

The music industry has evolved significantly to meet new challenges, with an unparalleled transition to a digital marketplace. Now, in the wake of the global pandemic, those challenges have been accompanied by additional, unexpected ones. With performances shut down indefinitely, the thousands of workers who make up our robust live-performance industry have seen their livelihoods decimated. We must ensure this quintessentially American industry survives the pandemic while also securing a legitimate marketplace for these performing artists and songwriters in the future. As we continue to rely increasingly on streaming and digital distribution, proper safeguards and incentives must be in place—both at home and in trade agreements—to support creators throughout this ongoing transition.

Protecting intellectual property, including copyright, trademark, and the right of publicity is synonymous with protecting music creators. The years during your administration will be decisive in determining how the American music community fares in this new environment. The complexities of music creation and consumption make it crucial that someone on your team understands the industry; this is the first step in protecting our country’s cherished music creators and ensuring the U.S. will continue to be the global leader in music.

Congratulations once again. Like you, we stand ready to get to work.

Academy of Country Music (ACM)
American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP)
Artist Rights Alliance (ARA)
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)
Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA)
Church Music Publishers Association Action Fund
Gospel Music Association (GMA)
International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)
Living Legends Foundation, Inc
Music Artists Coalition (MAC)
Music Managers Forum–US (MMF-US)
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)
National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)
Production Music Association (PMA)
Recording Academy
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Inc
Screen Actors’ Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
SESAC
Society of Composers & Lyricists
Songwriters of North America (SONA)
SoundExchange
Southern Gospel Music Guild (SGMG) 

 

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