Recording Academy, Nile Rodgers Congratulate Donald Trump in Letter Urging Copyright Reform

Recording Academy, Nile Rodgers Congratulate Donald Trump in Letter Urging Copyright Reform

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Every year, a representative from the Recording Academy walks onto the Grammys stage to plead for your money, advocating the basic but nonetheless accurate argument is that musicians deserve to be paid. The Recording Academy has decided to take their fight from the brief charity segment by addressing a letter to president-elect Donald Trump.

On November 29, the organization penned a letter to the president-elect that calls for copyright reform, according to Billboard. The letter—signed by Chic’s Nile Rodgers, producer Rodney Jerkins, singer KEM, and Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow—starts off by congratulating Trump.

“We, the undersigned members of The Recording Academy’s National Advocacy Committee, write to congratulate you and to reach out to you about the current state of the music economy for creators across America,” it reads. “The Recording Academy is the only organization that represents the interests of all music creators: the songwriters, performers, producers and engineers who create American recordings.

“The laws governing the sale and distribution of music have failed to keep pace with technology, keeping music creators from receiving fair market value for their work,” the letter continued. “These outdated laws, stemming from the turn of the last century, have weakened the value of American intellectual property in foreign markets to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties.”

Earlier this year, the Academy sent a similar letter to Congress asking them to update the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The act, signed into law in 1998, is considered too outdated for today’s digital age, owing to how completely different the music industry is.

Read the letter in full below.

Dear President-elect Trump:

We, the undersigned members of The Recording Academy’s National Advocacy Committee, write to congratulate you and to reach out to you about the current state of the music economy for creators across America. The Recording Academy is the only organization that represents the interests of all music creators: the songwriters, performers, producers and engineers who create American recordings.

As your administration begins to chart its course, this is an important moment to ensure the continued viability of music as one of America’s greatest exports and as an integral part of the American innovation story, fueled by the entrepreneurial spirit of the men and women who make up the creative workforce. In 2015, the U.S. music industry contributed $15 billion dollars to the American economy, creating jobs in every state.

Today, music lovers have more ways to listen to music than ever before. But the laws governing the sale and distribution of music have failed to keep pace with technology, keeping music creators from receiving fair market value for their work. These outdated laws, stemming from the turn of the last century, have weakened the value of American intellectual property in foreign markets to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties.

The Recording Academy and our members across the country are working with Congress to fix the broken copyright system. We hope that the 115th Congress, with support from your administration, will conclude its review of copyright and act to support creators. Copyright reform continues to enjoy bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and among a broad group of stakeholders.

We look forward to working with your administration to support the music economy. We urge you to support reform of outdated laws and oppose any regulation that would diminish the value of these creators’ hard work and property rights.

Thank you for your consideration, and we wish you great success.

Sincerely,

Brandon Bush, Musician/Songwriter
Rodney Jerkins, GRAMMY-Winning Musician/Songwriter/Producer
Ann Mincieli, GRAMMY-Winning Engineer
Kim “KEM” Owens, Musician/Songwriter
John Poppo, Producer/Engineer/Songwriter & Board Chair of The Recording Academy
Neil Portnow, President/CEO, The Recording Academy
Nile Rodgers, GRAMMY-Winning Musician/Songwriter/Producer

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