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Bart Herbison, executive director of NSAI
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is asking its members for help in passing the Stop Online Piracy Act, a newly introduced bill in Congress that would allow the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief on behalf of songwriters against rogue websites that traffic in pirated music.
“[There are those] who claim this legislation will destroy the Internet,” said Bart Herbison, executive director of NSAI. “Search engines, and others who profit from the existence of these sites, are aggressively fighting this bill. We need songwriters of all stripes, particularly those who work in or are from states outside of Tennessee, to let their congressman know how important this bill is to the profession.”
The bill, H.R 3261, was recently introduced by a bipartisan group led by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Currently, musicians and songwriters have little recourse in fighting foreign websites involved in the sale of illegal products, including music, according to NSAI.
“The online thieves who run these foreign websites are out of the reach of U. S. law enforcement agencies and profit from selling pirated goods without any legal consequences,” Congressman Smith said in a statement. “This bill will help stop the flow of revenue from rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators.”
If the bill becomes law, it would provide recourse to songwriters by providing a framework for copyright owners to appeal to financial service providers to stop funding sites involved in theft of intellectual property, NSAI said. If the copyright owner is unsuccessful in working through the financial services providers, the bill would allow a qualified plaintiff to appeal to the courts for injunctive relief.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on November 16. NSAI asks that its members contact their Congressional representative immediately. NSAI has posted information about the bill here.