Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden,
We, the undersigned, are just a few of the more than 11 million artists living, working, and creating across the United States. Our work brings significant cultural and economic value to our society - and contributes $1.52 trillion to the nation's GDP. Yet that value is being disregarded as our rights and incentives to create are increasingly under threat.
Hear us as we speak with one voice about the importance of creators' rights.
We are the essence of America. Since the founding of our country, our work has provided light in the darkness of conflict, humor in the depths of sadness, beauty in the face of ugliness, and reason in the dysfunction of division.
We serve as the foundation of our communities; you find us in schools, performance halls, libraries, museums, community centers, and movie houses. We enrich our culture with a wide range of creative expression, including music, film, software, video games, writing, photography, graphics, and other visual arts.
We contribute in some way to every single industry in the country. Many of us are self-employed. All of us work hard and pay taxes.
Yet, we are under assault. Our rights to control the distribution, use, and reproduction of our works in our vibrant digital age are dismissed by many who do not understand the value we bring to society. They tell us to work harder, create better, and give our works away. Some think that they should control our works and that they should be able to appropriate, perform, and copy them how they please, without our consent, benefit, or participation.
Our freedom as creators lies in the Constitutional rights we cherish, rights given to us to promote our culture. Without these rights, our ability to pursue our creative dreams and to meet the high expectations of those who benefit from our creative works is significantly diminished. As a result, all Americans will suffer.
Mr. President and Vice President, hear our call. We know you understand the value our creative contributions bring to our society and economy, and we know you can encourage our citizens to respect our rights. Please pursue policies supportive of the rights of artists and the encouragement of our creative efforts. Without the proper respect for our rights and works today, it will become even more difficult for us to create in the future.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I signed this letter--and you can, too, at this link: