Recording Industry To Begin Collecting Evidence And Preparing Lawsuits Against File "Sharers" Who Illegally Offer Music Online
Launching Data-Gathering Effort To Identify Peer-to-Peer Infringers Who Continue To Offer Music To Millions
WASHINGTON (June 25, 2003) -- Starting tomorrow, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will begin gathering evidence and preparing lawsuits against individual computer users who are illegally offering to "share" substantial amounts of copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks. In making the announcement, the music industry cited its multi-year effort to educate the public about the illegality of unauthorized downloading, and underscored the fact that major music companies have made vast catalogues of music available to dozens of services to help create legitimate, high quality and inexpensive alternatives to online piracy.
"The law is clear and the message to those who are distributing substantial quantities of music online should be equally clear --- this activity is illegal, you are not anonymous when you do it, and engaging in it can have real consequences," said RIAA president Cary Sherman. "We'd much rather spend time making music then dealing with legal issues in courtrooms. But we cannot stand by while piracy takes a devastating toll on artists, musicians, songwriters, retailers and everyone in the music industry."
The RIAA expects to use the data it collects as the basis for filing what could ultimately be thousands of lawsuits charging individual peer-to-peer music distributors with copyright infringement. The first round of suits could take place as early as mid-August.
Over the past year, the industry has responded to consumer demand by making its music available to a wide range of authorized online subscription, streaming and download services that make it easier than ever for fans to get music legally and inexpensively on the Internet. Moreover, these services offer music reliably, in the highest sound quality, and without the risks of exposure to viruses or other undesirable material.
Federal law and the federal courts have been quite clear on what is not legal. It is illegal to make available for download copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owner. Court decisions have affirmed this as well. In the recent Grokster decision, for example, the court confirmed that the users of that system were guilty of copyright infringement. And in last year's Aimster decision, the judge wrote that the idea that "ongoing, massive, and unauthorized distribution and copying of copyrighted works somehow constitutes 'personal use' is specious and unsupported."
"Once we begin our evidence-gathering process, any individual computer user who continues to offer music illegally to millions of others will run the very real risk of facing legal action in the form of civil lawsuits that will cost violators thousands of dollars and potentially subject them to criminal prosecution," said Sherman.
To gather evidence against P2P users who make illegal downloading possible, the RIAA will be using software that scans the public directories available to any user of a peer-to-peer network. These directories, which allow users to find the material they are looking for, list all the files that other users of the network are currently offering to distribute. When the software finds a user who is offering to distribute copyrighted music files, it downloads some of the infringing files, along with the date and time it accessed the files.
Additional information that is publicly available from these systems allows the RIAA to then identify their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The RIAA can then serve a subpoena on the ISP requesting the name and address of the individual whose account was being used to distribute copyrighted music. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), ISPs must provide copyright holders with such information when there is reason to believe copyrights are being infringed. Almost all ISPs disclose this obligation in the User's Terms of Service.
Music industry leaders, along with an unprecedented coalition of other groups like the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the Country Music Association, the Gospel Music Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), American Federation of Musicians, songwriters, recording artists, retailers, and record companies have been educating music fans that the epidemic of illegal file sharing not only robs songwriters and recording artists of their livelihoods, it also undermines the future of music itself by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent. In addition, it threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry, from engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks.
This message has been conveyed to the public in a series of print and broadcast ads featuring top recording artists. And, in the past two months, millions of Instant Messages were sent directly to infringers on the Kazaa and Grokster peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
Richard Carpenter, legendary songwriter and producer said: “One of the many aspects of this issue that is so troubling, is the cavalier fashion in which so many approach it, as if it just isn't serious business. It is of course...It's theft, plain and simple; and we need to do all that we can to see that it stops!”
Missy Elliott, writer, producer, rapper, and singer: "Hip Hop has always been about the attainable dream - about running your own business, your own club, your own fanzine. Turning your back on the bootleggers helps us pave the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs. We do our best to bring you the latest, hottest beats, and we appreciate it when our fans show their love and respect by going in that record store and buying the finished product."
Brad Paisley, Gold and Platinum award-winning country music artist said, "My producer, my co-writers, my musicians have a big part in my albums. When you download music illegally, those folks don't get paid."
Eve, multi-Platinum Grammy award winning artist: “We work really hard. We love our fans and we appreciate the love, but don't steal from us, support us. Go in the stores and buy the records.”
Joshua Bell, an internationally-known violinist said, "I love music. I also love the Internet. Unfortunately with the Internet has come piracy. Piracy is very bad for music. What can you do to stop piracy- Refuse to participate; it's as simple as that."
Brooks & Dunn, multi-Platinum country music artists said, "We want the next Brooks & Dunn to have a chance. Piracy hurts that chance. There are a lot of really talented hardworking people making music. For them it's a job... If music gets stolen, it's hard for them to continue. So help us ensure the future of good music."
Shakira, Grammy-Winning Latin Pop Artist: "Making an album is a team effort, so when somebody pirates a record that not only affects the artist, but also the people who worked on it like co-producers, co-writers and musicians. Say no to piracy."
Mandy Moore, Platinum award winning artist: “While I admit that what I do for a living is a dream come true, it's still a job and how I make a living. Illegally downloading music is the same thing as asking an artist to truly work 100 percent for free. I spend a great deal of time and money on charities, but at the end of the day I would expect and hope to be compensated fairly for my work. It's not a lot to ask for.”
The Dixie Chicks, Grammy award winning and two-time Diamond award recipients said, "It may seem innocent enough, but every time you illegally download music a songwriter doesn't get paid. And, every time you swap that music with your friends a new artist doesn't get a chance. Respect the artists you love by not stealing their music. You're in control. Support music, don't steal it."
Peter Gabriel, Grammy award winning multi-Platinum artist: "In some ways we are the canary down the mine, the first battle ground, but behind us goes anyone who creates anything that can be turned into data whether its software, films pictures or music. Do people who create material have entitlement to get royalties? That's a bigger question for society. I would argue that you would get better range, better quality and better choice if you do pay the creator something. We live in the luxury of the in between world at the moment where some people pay for the records while others get it for free. It is the part of it that is the market stall, and at a certain point there will be less fruit on the stall if there's no money coming in.”
Keith Urban, Grammy award nominee for Best Country Instrumental Performance: “Downloading can be a great way to share music, but downloading music illegally threatens the future of everyone that depends on you for their livelihood. Get music the right way! If you download, do it legally!”
Sheryl Crow, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter: “Good music isn't easy to come by. Musicians spend their entire lives perfecting their craft and honing their skills. Unfortunately, everyone has to make a living. If musicians had to work ‘day jobs’ to support themselves and their families, they wouldn't have time or energy to be creative. Music fans cannot expect their favorite musicians to continue to produce quality albums if they are not willing to pay. People, including musicians, expect to be rewarded for a job well done. It's all about supply and demand. If there is not demand, there will eventually be no supply.”
Craig Nicholls, front man for The Vines: “If you like our music, great, at least buy a copy before you burn one.”
Sam Roberts, singer/songwriter: “As a musician and songwriter, there is no thought more satisfying than that of your songs and ideas being easily shared with people everywhere. Although I'm fairly new to the business side of things, there are a few realities that cannot be ignored. One is that artists should be compensated, like anyone else, for their hard work. I don¹t think that real music fans seek to knowingly short-change the people they respect and admire. These same fans, given a viable alternative to free downloading, would most certainly take it. So what this takes is a compromise on both sides between the labels and the fans. A CD shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. The music HAS to be the focus. Record labels have to be more conscientious and democratic when dealing with the people (music fans) who allow them to exist. To change this will take patience on everyone's part. In the meantime, the artists themselves cannot and should not be discouraged to take the risk in making music their main focus in life.”
Vanessa Carlton, singer/songwriter, “A Thousand Miles” and Platinum artist for “Be Not Nobody”: “I think it's great that there are even more avenues today to expose music and new artists. And I'm all for getting a taste of something before you buy it, but when it becomes more than a taste and people begin hoarding the entire work, it becomes piracy which results in a system in which artists are not being rewarded for their works. Works which they put everything they have into creating and then working their asses off to support and promote.”
Anastacia, international multi-Platinum selling artist: “It is particularly discouraging to young artists and songwriters trying to get their foot in the proverbial door of the music business. I suppose it should be a compliment that people dig your music so much that they're swapping it online. But thievery is thievery. If you dig an artist that much, then you should want to help keep that artist alive by purchasing the actual recording."
Steven Curtis Chapman, Grammy-award winning Christian artist: “A lot more goes into a CD than it may appear. The price of a CD doesn't just go back to the record company. Everyone who works with me to record and distribute my music makes a living and supports their families from CD sales as well. It's a big network of people from my co-producer, the engineers, my band all the way to assembly line people who help to manufacture the CDs and the truck drivers who get them to the stores. There are some new legitimate websites like burnitfirst.com that provide an alternative to illegal burning. I want to encourage my listeners to use sites such as this, and to buy instead of burning illegally. On behalf of the team who works alongside me, we'd appreciate it.”
Steve Smith, member of best-selling rock act Dirty Vegas: "It's having an effect on us as a new band. If you stop buying the CDs in the shops, then we don’t get to make the music. We're lucky, we got a chance. We're only just starting out and when we were doing our album, we were thinking about what would make people want to go out and buy our album. We took a lot of care to make a decision on what artwork to have on the CD so that you'd want to read the booklet instead of having a tape that someone's written Dirty Vegas on the front of. So if you are a real fan, then buy it."
Carl Sturken & Evan Rogers, Grammy-award winning songwriters/producers: "How would you feel if someone came in to your home and began taking everything they wanted that looked cool, and gave you nothing in return? Pretty crazy, right? That's how we feel about the piracy of music. When we were growing up, saving your money to go to the record store was one of the more important things in life. Most of the teenagers we know today are far more interested in buying a CD burner and downloading whatever music they want for free. We think that pretty much says it all.”
Troy Verges, Nashville Songwriters Association International's (NSAI) 2002 Songwriter of the Year: "Go to your job every day next week and work, when payday rolls around, tell the boss you only want half your check. That's what illegal downloading does to artists, musicians, songwriters and everyone that supports them. It's wrong."
Art Alexakis, lead singer of Everclear: "I think the fact that they are stealing recorded music is something that we have to stop. It's taking money out of my kid's mouth. That's the way I look at it. It's wrong. It's inherently wrong. It's stealing."
Martina McBride, singer of the number one country music hit “Wild Angels”: “Getting music the right way means there will be continued investment in new music, new artists, touring, new songs and everything fans love. Be a fan. Love music. And if you love music, get the real thing.”
Rivers Rutherford - co-writer of 2001 Billboard Country Song of the Year: “The average songwriters had to be very fortunate to make any money at all from his craft. Illegal Internet downloading significantly reduces the income of people who are not making millions from touring, t-shirt sales, etc., but merely trying to make a decent living. Downloading can literally make it impossible for a songwriter to support himself with his craft.”
Glen Ballard, award-winning songwriter/producer: “Piracy is an insidious act performed in an almost offhanded way by people who would never consider stealing anything else. Few people involved in the act of downloading music illegally would walk into a retail store and steal a CD of the same music, or take a CD player or computer to reproduce the music. It's highly likely that you would be caught and arrested, and it's also obvious that taking something without paying for it is a fundamentally unfair act. But as everyone knows, you can steal from the Internet without the fear of being caught. But the fundamental unfairness remains. We should honor our artists and their art by paying for their work, like you would pay for anything else. I work with artists, writers, singers and musicians who strive every day to be better at communicating. It's hard work, and requires years of dedication. They deserve to be compensated for the joy they bring to so many others.”
Hugh Prestwood, number-one Country Music hit songwriter: “This seemingly petty theft, if left unchecked, will destroy not only the music industry, but also the futures of all songwriters and recording artists. Without copyright protection-and the royalties it insures -- artists and songwriters will have no long-term bankable financial security whatsoever. We have every right to use both the legal system and technology in any and every legitimate way possible to dissuade or thwart file-sharing. We also have a great obligation to our successors-all future songwriters and artists. We must make our stand here and now. We must be willing to stand up to a public that enjoys file-sharing but does not yet grasp the disastrous long-term repercussions of 'free' music.”
Mary J. Blige, multi-Platinum award winning artist: “If you create something and then someone takes it without your permission, that is stealing. It may sound harsh, but it is true.”
Dave Pomeroy, session musician said, “I am a studio bassist, songwriter, producer, and an independent recording artist, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to make a living doing what I love for over 25 years. The illegal downloading of music has seriously threatened my livelihood and is already having a detrimental effect on the development of new artists and fresh music in all genres. Music is meant to be a shared, communal experience, but that doesn't make it OK to steal it! Let's get real and start respecting the rights of artists, musicians and songwriters. Thanks for listening. . .”
Stephony Smith, Nashville songwriter: “Piracy is this thorn that slowly, over time, will choke out the beautiful music we love and enjoy. The music industry can't grow and prosper without the revenue it deserves. The people stealing our music never stop to think about where they would be without the music. Well, ‘without it’ is where we're heading. As the Joni Mitchell song says ‘You don't know what you've got till it's gone.’ Downloading is a parasite that will eventually kill the abundance of great music we have now. You don't pay the writer, the writer becomes a salesman. You don't pay the artist, the artist becomes a blue collar worker. Both are noble professions, but what happens to the music? It stops. Lets stop illegal downloading, and re-start the music business.”
Musiq, Singer, multi-Platinum award winning artist, “AIJUSWANASEING” and “Juslisen”: "I think that people do need to be educated on the seriousness of music piracy because it cuts into hard working people’s money, especially the artists-people like me. So, it catches my attention. I don’t think that it’s cool, because if I’m putting in all of this work to see all of these returns and I don’t see the full capacity of my returns, because somebody is cutting in on it, we’ve got to do something about it. Right now you’ve got people thinking, 'What...I’m only just doing this, I’m only just doing that.' But, you’re only just doing this and this person is only just doing that, and it’s chipping away and it’s chipping away and chipping away. And, you don’t see it, but it’s a serious thing."
Marcus Hummon, songwriter and playwright said, “Downloading. . . it’s petty theft for those that don’t have the guts to go ahead and shoplift. I’ve heard a lot of creative defenses on the practice; but in the end, musicians, engineers, song-writers, and others suffer. It’s not an ethical grey area, it’s just wrong.”
Matraca Berg, co-writer of 1997 CMA Song of the Year "Strawberry Wine": "Most songwriters are not rich or famous. They are hardworking craftsmen who depend on these royalties to provide for their children. Stealing music is stealing from their families."
Lamont Dozier, legendary songwriter, whose hits include "Stop! In The Name Of Love”: “Online music piracy through illegal file-sharing is killing the business as we know it today, and songwriters like myself won't be able to write the songs if there's no way for us to make a living. It's the only job I know how to do! If you love your music, please love the people who are creating it for you. Let's do this together. If you pay for the music, we the songwriters and artists can keep the whole world singing the songs."
ZOEgirl Group, top-selling Contemporary Christian artists: “When we were little girls, we didn't see anything wrong with copying cassette tapes, because it was so easy to do, and we didn't know any better. Well, we know better now, because with the availability of copying, uploading and downloading cds, this kind of thing has severely affected the funds that are available to record, market and package the music we now make. People need to be educated on the fact that if piracy continues at the current rate, very soon there will simply NOT BE the amazing music that is out there now.”
Duncan Browne, C.O.O. of Newbury Comics, Inc., a small chain of 27 stores based in Boston, Massachusetts said: “The retail music industry is in a severe decline, largely as a result of illegal file sharing. Hundreds of retail stores have closed; hundreds of people have been put out of work. Independent music retailers who depend primarily on music for profits, (as opposed to washing machines, television sets, diapers or other commodities) are struggling to survive. These are local businesses, providing local employment and paying local taxes.
Continued Browne: “This loss has impact beyond local unemployment rates - it actually affects the future of music itself. In a homogenized and constricted retail environment, the consumer loses. The diverse selection of music we have enjoyed is diminished, not to mention competitive benefits to the consumer and hometown jobs. Retail stores offer consumers a world of options. A healthy commercial industry creates work for artists, producers, label, wholesalers and retailers. The creative process is then supported and nurtured by commercial outlets. Illegal file sharing is destructive to both the creative and selling processes. Ultimately no one benefits, including the pirates. Without a viable economic model, the artists’ ability to create their art is irreparably harmed.”
Mike Negra, President, Mike's Video, Inc.: “Before illegal file sharing, we operated five music stores in two different rural college towns. We now operate one. Since August of 2000, we have seen almost 80% of our music sales lost to piracy. As a result, jobs have been lost, advertising spending and charitable contributions have been reduced or cut out altogether, capital projects have been delayed, we've paid less local and federal taxes, and on and on. The economic ramifications due to the widespread acceptance of illegal file sharing are endless.”
Continued Negra: “It is impossible, on any level to compete with free, so it comes as no surprise that what was once the champion of developing artists and the cornerstone of music retail, the college market, has for all intents and purposes, been wiped out nation wide as a result of file sharing. The feeling of personal entitlement to free entertainment must be changed. If the distribution system between artist and consumers changes and eliminates retail so be it. However, no system, physical or digital, can survive while the option of free exists.”
Courtney Proffitt, Executive Director of the Association for Independent Music: "We have been educating people that online music piracy is affecting everyone in the music industry - not just the major labels. Smaller record labels are finding it hard to stay in business, due to the loss of much needed revenue. This is impacting the very nature of new music being created and shared with the world. We could be losing some very talented musicians who cannot afford to continue to record their music. I urge people to think about the consequences that are the results of illegal downloading of music."
John W. Styll, President of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) said, “From ancient times onward, it has been understood by all people that taking someone’s property without their permission is wrong. The GMA supports the RIAA’s efforts to use the court system to enforce the intellectual property rights of the creative community, but also calls upon people of faith to consider that this is not just a legal issue, but also a matter of morality.”
Rick Carnes, President of the Songwriters Guild of America: “It breaks my heart to see the great songs of American Songwriters 'Stolen' by the millions everyday. Like everyone else, songwriters can't make a living if we aren't paid for our hard work. We have done all that we could to educate and warn the public that rampant internet piracy is killing the music. Anyone still illegally downloading music files should know what they are doing is wrong, it is illegal.”
John Connolly, President of AFTRA: “Every day in this country, performing artists create the sound recordings that resonate within the human heart and define our rich culture. As a society, we have historically recognized the inherent value of artists' creations by protecting those works through our copyright laws. AFTRA believes that this fundamental compact between fans and artists – that creators deserve to be compensated for their labors and encouraged to produce more inspiring work -- still represents a fair bargain that has stood the test of time. Piracy poses a serious threat to the continued viability of that bargain. AFTRA urges music fans to stand up for artists by utilizing only legal means of accessing musical works so that artists can afford to continue to create the very music that has enriched our society.”
Bill Velez, President and Chief Operating Officer of SESAC said: “SESAC is supportive of efforts aimed at ensuring the rights of creators pursuant to our Copyright Law. This vigilance is particularly critical in the case of songwriters and composers, many of whom do not possess the individual clout necessary to ensure the protection of their works.”
Bart Herbison, Executive Director, Nashville Songwriters Association International: “When someone steals a song on the Internet it is not a victimless crime. Songwriters pay their rent, medical bills and children’s’ educational expenses with royalty income. That income has been dramatically impacted by illegal downloading, so many have reassessed their careers as songwriters. It breaks my heart that songwriters are choosing other professions because they cannot earn a living – in great part due to illegal downloading.”
Frances Preston, President and CEO of BMI: “Illegal downloading of music is theft, pure and simple. It robs songwriters, artists and the industry that supports them of their property and their livelihood. Ironically, those who steal music are stealing the future creativity they so passionately crave. We must end this destructive cycle now.”
Ed Benson, Executive Director of the Country Music Association, said, "CMA has a diverse membership from the creative end of the business through to those who deal directly with the consumer like our broadcasters and record merchandisers. All of our constituents are adversely affected by illegal file-sharing which has a very broad impact. It's not just something that impacts the major artists and record labels. There are so many others who make their living working in the music industry, and all of them are being hurt."
Thomas F. Lee, President of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM): "Musicians know that the music they create has value. . . it is the heartbeat of popular and high culture, the emotional soundtrack in millions of lives, and the medium for each new generation to communicate its thoughts, desires, and struggles. But a social bargain is necessary. Musicians make music for love. . . but they can't afford to do it without an income. The AFM continues to urge all music fans to support artists by using only legal means to distribute and obtain music. You will be protecting yourself, and you will be helping the artists whose music you love."
"The Association of Independent Music Publishers supports the rights of creators and copyright owners to protect their intellectual properties and enforce their copyrights. Unauthorized downloading or unauthorized "file sharing" of copyrighted material is a crime that has real victims- the songwriters, artists, music publishers and other copyright owners of the creative works involved. We encourage all who enjoy music to support the creation of music by obtaining their music only from legal sources."
Chris Gladwin, COO of FullAudio: “There's an epidemic in the online music industry. Consumers continue to operate from the misperception it's legal to download music from peer-to-peer networks," said Chris Gladwin, chief operating officer of FullAudio, developer of MusicNow. "But, they are not legal, and there is no excuse for downloading music illegally when legitimate services, like MusicNow, offer better service at affordable prices. Through MusicNow, music enthusiasts now can purchase tunes with a completely clear conscience knowing that the artists get paid. Also, they access a new digital music experience – easy-to-use, high in quality and professionally programmed by well-known music experts.”
Eric Weisman, President & CEO, Alliance Entertainment Corp.: “In servicing the leading home entertainment product retailers, AEC has seen first-hand the adverse effect illegal file sharing has on legitimate, physical music product sales. Further, AEC is aware that the majority of illegal file sharing is occurring through concentrated 'pockets of piracy' and is, therefore, supportive of the RIAA doing everything in its power to attack the piracy problem. However, the recent success of legitimate digital distribution channels has given renewed hope to all parties along the entertainment media supply chain that a market does exist for the licensed distribution and sale of digital music. Therefore, as a total solutions provider for the distribution and fulfillment of entertainment media, AEC will continue to work with the RIAA, content owners and its retail trading partners to support and enhance the overall growth of legitimate, digital distribution channels.”
Sharon Corbitt, studio manager at Ocean Way in Nashville: “As a studio manager and a nineteen year veteran of Music Row, I have seen the many changes that our industry has gone through. Action has to be taken to deal with the downloading piracy issue that is affecting our industry in a devastating way. The very person that is downloading illegally is not thinking of the long term effect. Their actions affect the quality of music that is recorded and eventually there will be nothing to download because the funds to make great quality recordings will not be available.”
Continued Corbitt: “As a painter needs money and support to purchase paints to paint a portrait, artists need the funds to record the music that makes a difference in the world. Can you imagine a world with a Monet? Can you imagine the silence, if the funds are not available for a great piece of music to be written and recorded? Not only is the quality of music affected by illegal downloading but also all of the people who support an artist to create their work of art. Producers, engineers, publishers, musicians, musical equipment manufacturers, cartage, etc...are affected. These music professionals also have families and people they support. It is a trickle down effect. It takes a team to support an artist and to create the great music that we hear everyday. We as a society have to stop and think about the consequences of our actions. One illegal download not only affects the artist, it affects everyone that supports that artist.”
James V. DeLong, Senior Fellow & Director, Center for the Study of Digital Property, Progress & Freedom Foundation: “The key point is that the downloaders are breaking faith with their fellow music lovers, not just with the artists. The system can't work if a few people pay and everyone else free rides. A market is a way for legions of consumers to band together, each paying a little bit, in return for a cornucopia of music. Anyone who destroys the market is the consumers' enemy, not their friend.”
“The Music Performance Trust Fund's ability to fund free concerts for the American and Canadian public has been devastated by illegal internet activity. We hope that society will wake up to the ill effects of this illegal activity.”
Gary Himelfarb, President of RAS Records: “As a small independent label and copyright owner I have been significantly impacted by the illegal downloading of music files on the internet. The illegal downloading of these music files has caused significant damage to the artists, songwriters and the copyright owners whose income has been severely reduced. This is no different from stealing music from a record store, only someone is stealing this music online. We would like the opportunity to work with legal and licensed websites that offer music files to consumers for a fair price where the artist, songwriter and label can be compensated. We would also like to be able to offer the occasional free download with these sites, but only with our prior permission. If this injustice does not end soon, the impact on the creative process of making music will also suffer. And then we all suffer.”
Bruce Iglauer, President of Alligator Records: “No one is hurt more by the illegal 'sharing' of copyrighted music than the independent artist and the independent record label. The struggling indies already occupy a much smaller market share than the majors. The independents' loss of income from even a small number of sales lost to 'file sharing' can be the difference between whether much independent music is recorded or not. If this proliferation of the theft of the creations of our independent artists continues, less and less music will be recorded. The public must be educated about the real of results stealing music from its creators.”
Chuck Cannon, President, Nashville Songwriters Association International: “Someone goes into a store and slips a CD under their coat and walks out without paying, and rational people call it stealing. Someone makes a few deft clicks on a computer mouse and downloads a CD without paying for it and many rational people become mysteriously bewildered as to what they should call such an act. There is no mystery. There should be no bewilderment. Steal is a verb defined as 'To take (the property of another) without right or permission.' If you steal you are a thief. I know this position will not win any current popularity contests but I, for one, am weary of the myriad rationalizations employed by the morally bankrupt to excuse behavior that is, at best reprehensible and at worst criminal. The fact that most of these rationalizations are put forth by those who profit from the theft of my songs only increases my indignation.”
Cannon continued: “You would think from listening to these people that their opinion that an item is overpriced justifies their stealing the item. It is my opinion that groceries are overpriced but my opinion does not trump the fact that if I go into a grocery store and walk out with some bread without paying for it I am a shoplifter. I am absolutely certain that if someone broke into the house of one of these illegal downloading thieves and made off with the proceeds from their last paycheck, their opinion of such an act would line up with the fact that they were a victim of stealing. As a songwriter I pay my family’s bills by collecting royalties for my copyrighted songs. Every time someone illegally downloads one of my creations, they have in effect broken into my house and made off with my paycheck.”
“Songwriters, artists and all creators are impacted by illegal downloading, and if it goes unchecked the viability of creative professions is in serious jeopardy,” Cannon added. “Creators have every right to protect their property. Personally, if I love something, I want to support it, not steal it!”