This morning my publisher brought in Bart Herbison, the Executive Director of NSAI. He informed us of some shocking statistics regarding the breadth of copyright piracy in the world today. Here are a couple quick facts:
- Only 1 out of every 30 songs downloaded is actually paid for.
- Every month there are 3,000,000,000 copyrights downloaded or shared illegally.
- In a 2008 case, the NSAI's $25,000 annual lobbying budget went up against a $65,000,000 record label lobbying budget...and won.
- NSAI has successfully passed 54 pieces of legislation.
Currently, there are two bills concerning piracy that are making their way through Congress and the House of Representatives that could benefit songwriters. First, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement focuses on the global aspect of curbing websites that act as highways and channels for the illegal transfer of copyrights. The second is a bill that would allow ISPs (Internet Service Providers, e.g. Comcast) to monitor and notify users who frequently download copyrighted materials. If the user does not cease and desist, the US Attorney General Office and FBI would take action.
Our hope is that these bills ultimate discourage the illegal downloading of our songs. Even if the number went from 1 out of 30 to only 2 or 3 out of 30, the number of opportunities for publishers to hire songwriters would go out the roof. And that's a worthy investment if I've ever heard one.