ASCAP’s “Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers”

This is what ASCAP, which I am a member of (I’ll report on whether or not that was a good idea in the future), has recently put forth as its sort of manifesto for the digital age.  I will be adding strike tags to indicate the parts I would like to see removed, for the sake of freedom of culture, ethics in general, or for other reasons.  
Just as citizens of a nation must be educated about their rights to ensure that they are protected and upheld, so too must those who compose words and music know the rights that support their own acts of creation. Without these rights, which directly emanate from the U.S. Constitution, many who dream of focusing their talents and energies on music creation would be economically unable to do so – an outcome that would diminish artistic expression today and for future generations.   

At this time, when so many forces are seeking to diminish copyright protections and devalue artistic expression, this Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers looks to clarify the entitlements that every music creator enjoys. 

  1. We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate.
  2. We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used.
  3. We have the right to withhold permission for uses of our works on artistic, economic or philosophical grounds.
  4. We have the right to protect our creative works to the fullest extent of the law from all forms of piracy, theft and unauthorized use, which deprive us of our right to earn a living based on our creativity.
  5. We have the right to choose when and where our creative works may be used for free.
  6. We have the right to develop, document and distribute our works through new media channels – while retaining the right to a share in all associated profits.
  7. We have the right to choose the organizations we want to represent us and to join our voices together to protect our rights and negotiate for the value of our music.
  8. We have the right to earn compensation from all types of “performances,” including direct, live renditions as well as indirect recordings, broadcasts, digital streams and more.
  9. We have the right to decline participation in business models that require us to relinquish all or part of our creative rights – or which do not respect our right to be compensated for our work.
  10. We have the right to advocate for strong laws protecting our creative works, and demand that our government vigorously uphold and protect our rights.”

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