Music Supported Here

One of the unexpected highlights of the FCC’s request for public comments on its proposed “net neutrality” regulations was the coming together of many trade unions in the US. The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, the Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees and the Screen Actors Guild all filed a joint comment, the Songwriters Guild of America filed their own and the American Federation of Musicians filed separately. Several unions outside the professional creative unions also filed comments, as did the American Association of Independent Music.

It was encouraging to see this outpouring of union support for the speech-related aspects of the proposed regulations but resounding rejection of any gamesmanship with the “nondiscrimination” rules applied to the fundamental discrimination–between legal and illegal activity. This nuanced view is sadly lacking in these public discussions.

The far-ranging opposition of unions to the piracy that is ravaging their members was capped off by a statement by the primary association of unions in America, the AFLCIO. The AFLCIO clearly supported their member unions and should put to rest forever (although I know it won’t) the claims of “big media” opposing “the little guy” in discussions of piracy. As anyone who is even remotely close to our business can tell you, it is the independent artist who aspires to become a professional who is hurt the most by the consumer electronics industry and their many apologists masquerading as “consumer advocates”.

We’re happy to add to the blog roll this week a new site operated by the British Musicians Union, which has this “About” statement:

“Music Supported Here is a new movement from the Musicians’ Union.
It’s a campaign for all musicians.

It’s about the simple but important principle that musicians should
not get ripped-off in the digital world.

For musicians, it will be a way to publicise and debate the issue
and to remind fans that you want to control your rights.

It’s a platform for musicians to raise their profile and direct their fans to
their own stores and websites: a source of music controlled by the musicians.

And for music fans it’s a way to say that you don’t rip-off musicians.

By supporting musicians’ rights, we’re supporting music.”