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Official News From the Office of Communications

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn Kicks Off Copyright Forum

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn presented a briefing on the Commerce Committee’s anti-piracy efforts to Belmont University students, faculty and administrators sitting alongside Nashville songwriters Thursday at the Quonset Hut Studio on Music Row.

“It is imperative that we look for ways to give you some certainty that you are going to have some protection under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and some consistency and for you to know what those enforcement mechanisms are going to be,” Blackburn said.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hedden

In updating industry insiders and educators on music piracy and other copyright issues, she directed their attention to the Protect IP Act moving through the U.S. Senate and soon to be introduced in the House of Representatives chamber.

The legislation, also known as the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, aims at disrupting the business model of rogue websites, especially those registered outside the country.

“We need to send the message loud and clear that the United States is going to stand with protecting our creators and protecting the product that they create and that they are compensated for that creation,” Blackburn said.

She also applauded the recent work of Tennessee legislators to make it a misdemeanor to share passwords for subscription-based streaming sites like Netflix and Rhapsody.

“People must realize the Internet is not the Wild West,” she added. “The Internet is a marvelous virtual marketplace, and it allows many of our innovators access to a global marketplace.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hedden

As social networking websites and music clouds evolve and may merge, Blackburn also said it is important for lawmakers to evaluate end users and connect their uses of entertainment and technology to compensation for creators rather than evaluating technology, which is constantly changing.

The Copyright Forum brings real world marketplace and legislative information and events to Belmont’s campus. Belmont’s students and faculty will in turn provide energy, ideas and feedback to help shape the future of the music industry.

“The overarching mission of the forum is to advance the American copyright debate by encouraging participation from all of the stakeholders, from all sides of the music entertainment industry. To do so, we intend to and will embed copyright in the day-to-day curriculum at the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business,” said the college’s Dean Wesley Bulla.

The Nashville Songwriters Association International and Belmont University announced in July a collaboration to host copyright and intellectual property forums to discuss solutions for the huge illegal file-sharing problem devastating the entertainment industry.

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