Musical Culture and Economics Rest on Both Speech Freedoms and Copyright Protections
A Statement on Behalf of the North American Independent Songwriter & Composer Community
New York, November 19, 2022 — With the suppression of artistic freedoms on the rise throughout the world, it remains clear that many governments continue to view the longstanding practice of lashing out against music creators to be an especially effective strategy in discouraging political dissent. That tactic has the dual intentions of silencing those voices perceived as most likely to spark impassioned protest, while simultaneously conveying the message that no one is safe from being targeted for commercial, financial and sometimes violent retribution over “unwelcome” speech. The warning to the public is simple, but blunt: “if this can happen to a star performer, composer or songwriter, imagine what can happen to you.”
To decry this dangerous trend, music creators and recording artists throughout North America are joining together to shine a light on the increasing misuse by governments of both intimidating law enforcement tactics and of electronic tracking technologies to curb the use of songs as a means of social and political criticism.
As regards the governmental weaponization of technology against music creators, for example, in at least one recent case, the metadata of a widely popular protest song was apparently changed to indicate a new and fictitious author and copyright owner. Copyright violations were then alleged against the original creator by the government-supported imposter as a method of having the songs automatically removed from various internet music sites.
This abuse of the copyright monitoring systems that serve as the economic lifelines to help protect and get music creators and artists paid is unacceptable, unethical and illegal. It is secondary in its lawlessness, however, to the acts of political intimidation being perpetrated by governments through the use of violence up to and including murder against targeted musicians and songwriters.
All of this must stop, and it must stop now. Once reported, appropriate steps should be taken by the global community of nations in pursuit of providing international protection and justice to the victims of abuses, including crimes against humanity.
Composers and artists rely on free speech and copyright protections in equal measure to safeguard our abilities to peacefully effect cultural advancement, and to create sustainable livelihoods for ourselves and for other members of our local communities. We cannot and will not abide by actions designed to undermine the pillars on which our social, artistic, and economic freedoms and lives rest, and pledge to do all within our legal power to assist in preventing the erosion of such rights –including the loss of life– whenever and wherever they occur in the world.
SIGNED BY THE FOLLOWING SIGNATORY ORGANIZATIONS:
Music Creators North America (MCNA)
The National Music Council of the United States (NMC)
Fair Trade Music International (FTMI)
The Songwriters Guild of America (SGA)
The Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL)
The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)
The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC)
The Alliance for Women Film Composers (AWFC)The Composers Diversity Collective (CDC)
For more information, contact: Charles J. Sanders, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914 588 7231