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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cash and Caring

Rosanne Cash is testifying before Congress tomorrow re: songwriters rights in this difficult age of the "digital economy."   She was asked by the Americana Songwriters Assn. to do this, and they've posted her prepared remarks online.   Here's an excerpt:

I tell you these things to underscore that to me as a singer/songwriter, a recording artist, and a participant in many other parts of the music business it seems painfully obvious that all creative people deserve fair compensation when their work is used by others. For various reasons, that does not seem to be happening in the marketplace today, and we need a realignment.

I am a fan of new technology, both as a consumer and an artist. I am active in social media and do it myself, and I love it— I Iove the connection and the
conversation. I’m also excited about the potential I see in the multiple new means of distributing music digitally that are being offered to music lovers, but my enthusiasm is tempered by the realization that these new business models are all cast against the backdrop of at least two decades of crushing digital piracy. This is important, because the royalties we are often offered as a result seem non-­‐ negotiable. We can license services on the terms they offer. The alterative is piracy.

My father, Johnny Cash, testified before this committee in 1997 in support of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He told the committee then how challenging and dispiriting it was to find one of his biggest hits, ‘Ring of Fire’, being sold by someone in Slovenia on an illegal website and that he hoped the DMCA would aid in solving that. What an innocent time that was. Isolated illegal websites have morphed into a multi-­‐national juggernaut that threatens to decimate the livelihoods of all musicians, songwriters and performers. There is a team at my record label devoted to issuing takedown notices to pirate sites. It is an absolutely futile gesture. The most popular search engines list pirate sites on the opening page of a search.

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