In his spirited keynote, ‘The Creators’ Perspective,’ at the World Creators Summit, renowned songwriter and ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams encouraged creators to stand up for their rights and demand stronger copyright laws. Some highlights of his speech:

“Copyright is one of the most enlightened concepts to have emerged in the history of ideas. It encourges the creation of new works for the benefit of society by allowing authors to make a living from their creative labour. It is an idea that has proved its worth to every nation that has allowed the expression of its culture to flourish through exclusive rights granted for authorship. Literature, music and art have value to individuals, to businesses and to countries. They open our hearts and minds. They inspire. They teach. They comfort. They drive economic growth and innovation. They define our time; they define our cultures; they bring us together. So then, why are we now in the position of having to defend ourselves against the insidious erosion of the basic principles of copyright in so many part of the world?”
“Intellectual property, rights are a cornerstone of democracy. As a citizen, a creator and a consumer, I should have a reasonable expectation that I live in a society where thieves and outlaws are not allowed to run rampant – even when they are operating in cyberspace. But when lawmakers in North America and Europe tried to enact legislation that would help enforce laws aginst online fraud and theft, the technology sector said it would break the Internet. They called it censorship. Creators are in the business of free expression. Freedom of speech is about political speech, it is not about protecting fraud or theft. They trivialized what free speech means. Forces that want to control and diminsih the value of our work for their own economic benefit are systematically attacking the rights of creators. They are methodically attacking the validity of copyright laws. They are building their businesses in a way that makes enforcement of our copyrights next to impossible.”
“In the online streaming world, songwriters and composers are being grossly underpaid for the music we write. Webcasters are rapidly becoming the preferred way people listen to music. Pandora alone – with 70 percent of the U.S. streaming market – just reported a 55 percent jump in revenues while creators are becoming impoverished – step-by-step. Even a major hit song streamed millions of times earns its songwriters so little, they couldn’t hope to sustain a livelihood.”
“If the creative professions cannot thrive, the world will be the poorer for it.”

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