In accepting the honour of this year’s Billboard Industry Icon Award , Beggar’s Group founder Martin Mills admitted that the reason he had decided to accept and “screw his nerves up to speak,” was simpy because he was “incensed about the discrimination and the lack of understanding with which those like us who spend their lives creating art that brings people joy, can get treated by those in power.” He was a man on a mission.
“I want to address the lack of support that governments, politicians and bureaucrats worldwide show to the creative industries. Many pay lip service to the value and importance of the creative economy, but most fail to match that with their actions. Creative industries are built upon strong and defendable intellectual property rights, and without that they will inevitably wither and fail. It is impossible to make the investments to produce new creative goods without the security that ownership of them is protected.”
In a recent Forbes article under the headline “We Need Strong Copyright Laws Now More Than Ever,” NMPA President and CEO David Israelite took exception to a previous article in the same publication by Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro that contended that the NMPA was part of a “huge well-funded army of lobbyists whose sole purpose is to convince Congress that the interests of massive content companies are more important than the interests of artists, musicians, innovators and ordinary people.” In part, Israelite responded: “I’ll let the facts speak for themselves.
The NMPA represents songwriters. Most of our members are small businesses. In fact, many are a business of one. And NMPA works on their behalf to protect and advance music copyrights both here and abroad. Copyrights that ensure songwriters can pay rent, buy food and cover medical bills. And we do this with six employess. Now let’s look at who Mr. Shapiro represents.
According to the CEA website, the organization consists of ‘more than 2000 members’ including ‘giant multi-national corporations’ that ‘generate more than $161 billion in annual factory sales.’ Perhaps you have heard of some of these companies: Apple, Amazon, eBay, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Verizon, Wal-Mart…
You get the picture. In two years, CEA has nearly doubled its lobbying budget. It’s grown from $1.9 million in 2010 to $2.83 million in 2012, dwarfing what NMPA spends. And that just scratches the surface. That doesn’t count any of what these ‘giant multi-national corporations’ spend to lobby diretly or spend on the many other organizations like CEA they fund.”