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Announcing the formation of Local 802’s Artist Rights Caucus

We’re proud to announce the formation of Local 802’s Artist Rights Caucus. If you’re a session player, recording artist, composer, songwriter, or member of any band or ensemble that needs to have a recording out in order to tour, we urge you to join by sending an e-mail to artistrightscaucus@gmail.com. For over a decade, we’ve watched the digital ripoff damage our livelihoods, industry, and art form. The collapse of the record industry – down by over 60 percent since 1999! – has hurt all musicians. None of this is the result of technological progress itself: In fact the technology exists right now to restore our market by protecting artists’ rights online.

But Silicon Valley corporations making billions from ad-based mass infringement of copyrights don’t want to use it. The AFM is fighting back: last March our union joined SAG-AFTRA, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC, and other music rights, labor, and industry organizations to propose ideas for legislation which, if enacted by Congress, would restore a fair market for our recorded work. But it’s going to take more than signing a position paper. The AFM needs our support and encouragement to continue pressing for the rights of creators, our input on how to move forward, and our participation in action. There are thousands of us affected by digital rights issues who rarely participate in union campaigns or take the time to vote in local union elections. The Artist Rights Caucus is how we can make our voices heard, and in the process strengthen our union and grow its membership. We encourage all Local 802 members who are tired of watching huge on-line corporations profit from our work without our consent or remuneration to join us. This is going to take a movement. It’s going to take every one of us. But together we can make a real difference.

Signed: Marc Ribot, Jack DeJohnette, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Ben Perowsky, Maria Schneider and Mark Stewart

[1] See the music community response to the U.S. Copyright Office Inquiry on Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

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