NMPA Seeks To Guard Songwriters' Earnings, Protect Copyrights - InformationWeek

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6/20/2008
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NMPA Seeks To Guard Songwriters' Earnings, Protect Copyrights

National Music Publishers Association fights for legislation that protects copyrights, tries to make sure songwriters get fair royalties, and sues infringers.

Protection of intellectual property rights was at the top of the agenda this past week as the National Music Publishers' Association held its annual meeting in New York City.

Speakers at the gathering at the Marriott Marquis hotel focused primarily on guarding their members' ability to profit from their creativity. The NMPA helps its members by lobbying for legislation that protects copyrights, ensuring that songwriters get fair royalties, and suing infringers.

NMPA President and CEO David Israelite and keynote speaker Dan Glickman, chairman and CEO of the Motion Pictures Association of America, highlighted the music industry's struggle to survive in the digital era and their efforts to promote copyright protection.

"One of the greatest assets we have is the asset of the mind," Glickman said. "America's future place in the world will be determined far less by the sweat of our brows than by the creations of our minds."

He said 15% of the United States' economic growth can be attributed to writers, who create film, music, software, and other entertainment and educational works.

Israelite said the association initially did not want music included in the Orphan Works Act. Now, the group supports the measure as long as it contains the strongest possible language to narrow the definition of "orphan works." Orphan works are those for which the copyright owner cannot be found. Legislation in Congress would make it easier for museums, educational groups, and others to display and use orphan works without fear of heavy damage costs if someone successfully sues, as long as the user exercises diligence in searching for the rightful copyright owner.

The NMPA also supports the Pro-IP Act, which expands the U.S. Department of Justice's authority to investigate claims of intellectual property theft.

The association also honored creators behind several recent U.S. hits and those who protect intellectual property. Among other honorees this year, the association recognized honored Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy and Amy Lee, the songwriter, pianist and lead singer for Evanescence. After accepting the Songwriter's Icon award Lee provided a brief live performance at the event.

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