In a press conference held July 7 in Belmont University’s Inman Center, the Nashville Songwriters Association International announced an industry agreement between Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to electronically alert consumers who illegally download films, television shows and music. Known as the Copyright Alert System, the agreement is a marketplace solution to the huge illegal file-sharing problem that has devastated the entertainment industry.
“Belmont has thousands of music business and songwriter students, and they all want a fair shake when they get into the music business. Hopefully, this agreement will help them have a music business left when they graduate,” said Grammy-nominated songwriter Bob Regan, also NSAI legislative chair.
Holding the press conference at Belmont represented the first step in an ongoing collaboration between the University and NSAI to host copyright and intellectual property forums on campus. The forums will begin July 19 with U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn presenting a briefing on the Commerce Committee’s anti-piracy efforts.
“Today’s event is the first in a pilot collaboration between NSAI and Belmont University, called the Copyright Forum. The Copyright Forum will bring real world marketplace and legislative information and events to Belmont. Belmont’s students and faculty will in turn provide energy, ideas and feedback to help shape the future of the music industry,” said NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison.
The industry has lost 373,000 jobs and $16 billion in earnings due to illegal file sharing, according to NSAI.
“It is a wonder we still have a Music Row around,” said Herbison, gesturing to north of Belmont’s campus. “Seventy percent of illegal downloading stops at the first notice and that will produce tremendous revenue for the industry.
The Copyright Alert System and dialogue in copyright forums are expected to shape the future of the music industry, decreasing music sharing and increasing returns for songwriters, singers, musicians and publishers. Consumers who ignore the email alerts will receive pop-up notifications and slowed Internet speeds.
Several songwriters, music publishers and students attended the press conference, including senior songwriter major Kevin Grosch, who called the Copywriter Alert Program an exciting announcement for students because it will help protect their future works and earnings.
“It really shocked me to find out that one out of 30 songs are paid for,” said music business and entrepreneurship major Eric Guroff, who is also on Curb College’s Pipeline think tank team this summer. “I think any steps that can be taken to protect intellectual property are good steps, and I’m excited to see what this can do.”