Last week, the Copyright Alliance unveiled its new website, and the first thing you read when you visit is “The Unified Voice of the Copyright Community.”
This signifies the core of our mission, representing the copyright interests of creators and innovators regardless of what types of works they create and distribute, whether authors, photographers, performers, artists, software developers, musicians, journalists, directors, songwriters, game designers. We also represent the interests of book publishers, motion picture studios, software companies, music publishers, sound recording companies, sports leagues, broadcasters, guilds, unions, newspaper and magazine publishers, and many more organizations.
At first glance, it doesn’t seem possible that these diverse groups have much in common. It’s not often, for example that a photojournalist crosses paths with a software developer or a scientific journal publisher. They may also have diverse views on other topics. But that tension rarely bleeds over to copyright. The value of copyright is the one area they tend to be in agreement.
Since joining the Copyright Alliance, I’ve learned that the common thread shared between all these creative professionals is the understanding of a need for a strong and functioning copyright system. Because they all rely on the same underlying legal framework, members of the copyright community share many common challenges, especially in the area of enforcement. They have learned that, by coming together as a community, they can learn from each other and help one another.
There is a broader threat though, one that affects each and every one of our members. Some argue that copyright is outdated, unnecessary, or even harmful. Others seek to devalue creative and intellectual labor itself. To counter these voices, the copyright community not only can find a unified voice, they must.
Professional creators are critical contributors to commerce and culture. And a strong and balanced copyright law is necessary to their ability to do so. The continued contributions of US creators and innovators to our economy, culture, and knowledge base is not inevitable. The public can only benefit if creators are empowered by copyright and can share fairly in the value they create, and if companies can reap the benefits from the risk and investments they make.
It’s our hope that the new Copyright Alliance website will carry the messages of the unified voice to other creators, to policymakers, and to the public at large.