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Music Groups Urge Donald Trump on Piracy in Advance of Meeting With Tech Executives

Variety logo Variety 12/13/2016 Ted Johnson
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The Recording Industry Association of America, SAG-AFTRA and musicians’ rights organizations are among the groups that have sent a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump, urging strong intellectual property protections in advance of his meeting on Wednesday with leaders of major technology firms.

Trump is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Alphabet’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt.

In a letter, the RIAA and other organizations say that “surely the world’s most sophisticated technology corporations can do better — by helping to prevent illegal access and paying fair market value for music with prices set by or based on the free market.”

“Strong protection for intellectual property rights will assure growth in both creativity and technology, benefiting the American economy as a whole,” the letter stated.

The groups have long pressed search engines, hosting companies and domain name registrars, among others, to do more to curb piracy. But they also have been pressing for changes in the way that content creators and labels are paid when music is streamed digitally on services such as Pandora.

In the letter, they even said that “there is a massive ‘value grab’ as some of these corporations weaken intellectual property rights for American creators by exploiting legal loopholes never intended for them — perversely abusing U.S. law to underpay music creators, thus harming one of America’s economic and job engines.”

Also signing the letter were ASCAP, BMI and Sound Exchange, as well as the American Federation of Musicians, the National Music Publishers Association, the Recording Academy and the Songwriters Guild of America.

The full letter is here.

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