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Official News From the Office of Communications

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Visits Belmont to Discuss Piracy

Gov. Bredesen, U.S. Rep. Cooper, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Join Conversation on Intellectual Property Protection
GaryLockeTownHall.jpgU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with music industry representatives yesterday in Belmont’s Maddox Grand Atrium to discuss the Obama Administration’s commitment to global enforcement of laws against intellectual property piracy. Before the town hall event at Belmont, Locke was joined by Congressman Jim Cooper and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean for a tour of “Music Row.”
In addition to the nearly 100 Belmont students in attendance, Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher welcomed more than 300 music industry leaders and special guests to the forum, noting, “The topic today is critical to our students’ future as 2,000 of our students are connected to music.”
Secretary Locke said, “Belmont’s School of Music and Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business offer Americans some of the best education in the music industry so it’s appropriate we are having this discussion here… Copyright laws need to adjust to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
As “America’s Music City,” Nashville is an important hub in the U.S. music industry and has been deeply hurt by the recent rise in online intellectual property piracy. According to recent statistics, only one in 20 songs downloaded from the internet is done so legally.
Songwriter Rob Crosby said, “I don’t know why they call it file sharing when it’s stealing pure and simple.”
With the advent of the Internet, consumers are spending less on recorded music in all formats, and total revenues for recorded music in the U.S. have dropped in recent years. The loss of revenue has injured the local economy, which supports thousands of jobs and a $4 billion industry annually. The Department of Commerce, supported by the expertise of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), serves as the chief advisor to President Obama on intellectual property issues. Led by Director David Kappos, the USPTO also has an ongoing enforcement effort that provides training for government and private sector officials all over the world.