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Music industry writes open letter to Donald Trump – piracy and safe harbours are the focus

By | Published on Wednesday 14 December 2016

Donald Trump

The National Music Publishers Association having got its wish list in to President-Elect Donald Trump super quick, the wider American music industry has now followed suit.

On this open letter, the NMPA is joined by pretty much every other trade body and organisation representing the US music industry, from the Church Music Publishers’ Association to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and The Living Legends Foundation, and some you’ll have already heard of before today.

Noting Trump’s scheduled meeting with the major tech firms, the letter bigs up the contribution of music to the US economy and acknowledges the role of some technology firms in helping evolve and expand all that for the digital age. But – oh yes, there’s a but – don’t forget the ‘value grab’. Whatever you do Donny, do not forget the value grab. Which, by the way, is American for the ‘value gap’.

“Many in the technology and corporate community should be commended for doing their part to help value creators and their content”, the music groups write. “Some have developed systems to promote a healthy market for music and deter theft. However, much more needs to be done. Search engines, user-upload content platforms, hosting companies, and domain name registrars and registries should follow others’ example to effectively stop theft and assure fair payment”.

So, do more to combat piracy tech-heads. Meanwhile, stop it with the value grab will you? “There is a massive ‘value grab'”, the letter continues. “As some of these corporations weaken intellectual property rights for America’s creators by exploiting legal loopholes never intended for them – perversely abusing US law to underpay music creators, thus harming one of America’s economic and job engines”.

It concludes: “Surely the world’s most sophisticated technology corporations can do better – by helping to prevent illegal access and paying fair market value for music with prices set by or based on the free market”.

Surely so. The legal loopholes being exploited, of course, are the safe harbours in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which the music industry would like reformed so that the likes of YouTube no longer get the protection that allows them to operate an opt-out rather than opt-in streaming service.

The letter concludes: “We hope you will lead the effort to assure American creativity is encouraged, invested in, protected and fairly compensated in a manner that carries out the exclusive rights guaranteed in the constitution to those who, with the genius of their mind, form the cultural identity of our great nation”.

Too right. Let’s make American great again!