To most of us music is like air. It floats all around us as we move from car to store to office to home. We really don’t think about it much unless it’s really good or really bad. But if we’re hiking up a beautiful mountain trail, looking at a breathtaking view, and taking in the sweet fresh pine scented air, we notice it’s special. It moves us. If you hear “I Hope You Dance,” and your little girl’s first ballet recital comes to mind, you might tear up. If you hear “The Boys of Fall” coming home from your son’s first high school football triumph, you may get a lump in your throat.
A few decades back, within my memory, maybe not yours, our air and water got pretty crummy in some places. In some countries it’s still bad and getting worse. But in America we got together and did something about it, because our bodies and our spirits needed good clean air and water. So we pitched in and made it happen.
There’s never been a time when the American spirit and economy needed great songs and inspiring music and powerful films and life changing books more. So we have to do the same thing now, pull together to make sure the creators of our precious intellectual property can survive. It’s both an economic and a spiritual issue.
There is a bill before congress called the Protect IP (intellectual property) Act. It allows our law enforcement agencies to shut down the most egregious pirate websites, who deal primarily in stolen American products, music and songs. These sites fool Americans and others around the world into thinking they’re paying for music when not a penny ever comes back to the creators. And they profit from American advertisers like cruise lines, lumber companies, even the U.S. Postal Service! We must all ask our Senators and Representatives in Congress to support the Protect IP Act. It protects American jobs, promotes our creative industries, and costs the taxpayers nothing.
The music business is less than half the size it was a decade ago. Music has given me a wonderful career as a songwriter and supported my family, but I don’t think it would if I started over today. The unintended consequences of technology have devastated writers and artists’ ability to make a living.
The Internet is our superhighway for commerce, culture and information. Its benefit to all of us is spectacular. But we can’t let multi-billion dollar Internet companies prevent us from making it a place that nurtures creativity and innovation, just so they can make even more money. We got together as a country and got a handle on making sure we had clean air and water. It’s time for Americans to get together and make sure we still lead the world in music and films and books as well. Support the Protect IP Act. Call or write your representative.
By: Steve Bogard
President of the Board
Nashville Songwriters Association International