National Music Council Issues A 'Call To Action'
Dr. David Sanders, Director of the National Music Council (NMC), has issued a "Call to Action" to the NMC's constituency over the threat presented by illegal file-sharing on the Internet. The full text of his appeal appears below:
A CALL TO ACTION FROM THE NATIONAL MUSIC COUNCIL
Through its membership in the National Music Council, BMI is linked to the American music community at large. With the cooperation of its member organizations, the National Music Council promotes and supports music and music education as an integral part of the curricula in the schools of our nation, and in the lives of its citizens. Additionally, the Council provides for the exchange of information and coordination of efforts between its member organizations and speaks with one voice for the music community whenever an authoritative expression of opinion is desirable.
It is not often that the National Music Council calls upon the individual members of its constituent organizations to take specific action, but circumstances at this time compel me to address you directly in order to ask for your assistance. The future of America's composers and songwriters - and by extension the future of American music itself - has never faced a graver threat than the one it is facing today from illegal Internet file-sharing. For every member of the extended U.S. music community, from creators, to educators, to music-lovers, the time to raise our voices in support of America's music is now!
Enormous damage is being inflicted on our industry by illegal Internet activity. Some two billion incidents of electronic music shoplifting occur each month. This rampant piracy is not only displacing sales of music through normal retail chains, but also strangling the growth of innovative and licensed Internet music services, which cannot compete with "free" access.
The result has been an economic downturn of more than thirty percent across the music community, undeniably traceable in significant part to this epidemic of theft. Thousands have lost their jobs, and many thousands more are about to. As one bleak example among many, Music Row in Nashville - the most concentrated gathering place for songwriters of all genres in the country - is growing quieter each month as "for rent" signs replace ongoing businesses at an increasing pace.
Yet, despite these very troubling signs, the media unfortunately persists in portraying the issue of illegal Internet activity most frequently as a "victimless crime," a David and Goliath tale of large corporations versus consumers where those suffering the most - creators and small businesses - are thoroughly ignored. That is a situation that cannot be permitted to continue. The message that we must deliver now to our Congressional representatives, to the White House, and to the public is that the real victims of electronic music theft are individuals at every economic level:
* Recording Artists
* Independent Retailers
* Hundreds of thousands of Americans employed in supporting positions throughout the music industry, and their families
Without the means to support themselves through their music, creators will inevitably be forced to abandon their careers. The end result will be the severe diminution of American musical creativity and innovation, a narrowing of musical diversity, and eventually the destruction of the American music community itself (with severe economic ripple effects throughout the intellectual property community that comprises 5% of the U.S. GNP spread among tens of thousands of large and small businesses). That bleak future is a calamity that we urge you to help us prevent.
Please join us by acting now! The easiest way to help is to contact your legislators directly from the MyJobIsMusic.com website. To get more facts on illegal downloading, you may also want to visit MusicUnited.com.
I thank you for your time and effort on this important issue.
Dr. David Sanders
Director, National Music Council
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