October 25, 2018

Dear Candidate,

As Americans prepare to elect a new Congress, CreativeFuture – an organization that strongly supports creative communities by working to protect creativity and encourage respect for copyright law – wants to share a letter with you from over 101,000 creatives, audience members, fans, and consumers attesting to the need for a strong copyright system. Copyright is a critical complement to our nation’s commitment to free expression, creativity, innovation, and technological advancement.

CreativeFuture is a coalition of over 540 organizations and companies and over 220,000 individuals. Many of us make our living creating in film, television, music, publishing, and photography. Our nation’s creative economy, the world’s best, is under siege by digital piracy because ever-evolving technologies facilitate the unauthorized duplication and distribution of our valuable creative works.

The U.S. core copyright industries are a significant economic driver, contributing more than $1.2 trillion to America’s Gross Domestic Product and employing 5.5 million Americans. Our industries are leading exporters, outselling other major U.S. industries – including aerospace, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. When consumers in other countries enjoy American-made creative products legally, job creation and economic growth occur here.

Strong and effective copyright is not a partisan issue, but rather one that benefits our entire country. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative or libertarian, our nation’s creators and our creative economy deserve your support.

The signers of the attached open letter affirm that:

  • We embrace the internet as a powerful democratizing force for creative industries, individuals, and the world at large.
  • We demand that major internet platforms (in particular, Google and Facebook) assume greater responsibility for illegal content distributed on their networks that damages our members’ ability to make a living.
  • We embrace a strong copyright system at home and abroad that rewards creativity and promotes a healthy creative economy.
  • We proudly assert that copyright promotes and protects free speech – and the protection thereof does not undermine free speech.
  • Copyright should allow our creative communities to safeguard their rights against those who would use the internet to undermine our creativity.
  • Creative communities must be part of the conversation and stand up for creativity.

When the 116th Congress convenes next January, our creative communities want to know that we will have your support. We welcome your thoughts and comments on our concerns at any time.

Sincerely,

Ruth Vitale

CEO, CreativeFuture

 

An Open Letter from the Creative Communities to 2018 Candidates for the U.S. Congress

We are members of the creative communities. While our political views are diverse, there are core principles on which we can all agree. And we appreciate the opportunity to share our views with our country’s current and future leaders.

We embrace the internet as a powerful democratizing force for our world and for creative industries. We recognize its ability to inspire positive change and improve lives. In our creative industries, the internet has removed barriers to entry for newcomers, fostered a dialogue with fans and audiences, and provided numerous additional ways to reach them. The internet has expanded creativity and free expression.

But the internet has also introduced massive new harms to creatives and creativity. About 20 years ago, Congress created a legal environment meant to encourage the growth of the internet but that has also allowed internet abuses to flourish. These abuses are now in the headlines every day.

We embrace a strong copyright system at home and abroad that rewards creativity and promotes a healthy creative economy. The incredible cultural and economic value that the internet delivers to billions of users is based in very large part on the efforts of creative content makers whose livelihoods depend on being compensated for their efforts. Internet platforms are making massive profits from creative contributions to the internet’s growth. It is not too much to ask that content creators should continue to be able to make a living from the value they provide. These protections, which incentivize millions of Americans to join the creative economy, must be reinforced globally. Stronger IP protections clearly correlate with larger and more dynamic creative outputs, as well as larger legitimate digital content distribution marketplaces. These robust digital markets around the world contribute directly to the American workforce and its prosperity – in all 50 states and beyond.

We proudly assert that copyright promotes and protects free speech. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression go hand in hand with the freedom to create and to preserve the value and integrity of what one creates. The copyright clause of the Constitution is not in conflict with the First Amendment; indeed, the Supreme Court has called copyright law the “engine of free expression” with “built-in free speech safeguards.” Additionally, the Fair Use exception allows many creatives in various fields to create important work, but it should not be used to undermine the core tenets of established copyright law. To creative people, self-expression is deeply personal. It is at the heart of everything we do. We view any effort to diminish the rights of creatives in the name of “free speech” as cynical and dishonest.

Copyright should protect creatives from those who would use the internet to undermine creativity. The internet can be a great tool for creatives just as it can be a tool for science, education, health care, and many other disciplines. However, when misused, it can harm creativity and stifle freedom of expression. Our current and future leaders recognize that a safe and secure internet benefits us allAnd all parties recognize the importance of strong copyright protections in their technology policy platforms because protecting copyright and internet freedom are both critically important and complementary – they are not mutually exclusive. A truly free internet, like any truly free community, is one where people respect the rights of others and can engage in legitimate activities safely – and where those who do not are held accountable.

We demand that major internet platforms assume greater responsibility for the illegal content distributed on their networks. Companies like Google and Facebook, now among the largest companies in the world, must step up to greater responsibility for the theft of creative content that they facilitate, and take proactive steps. While the creative communities recognize that the need for greater platform responsibility extends far beyond copyright infringement, our industry has long suffered from a lack of platform accountability – threatening the aspirations and livelihoods of millions of Americans. This must change.

Creatives must be part of the conversation and stand up for creativity. Some organizations and advocates, who in many cases are funded by the major online platform providers, repeatedly claim to be pro-creativity and pro-audience, yet they denigrate or block effective efforts to preserve and promote creative content, including enforcement of existing laws and voluntary industry initiatives. Any company or organization that claims to be “against piracy” must match their words with their actions.

There is no “left” or “right” when it comes to respecting copyright. We stand united in support of a copyright system that will continue to make the United States the global leader in the creative arts and the global paradigm for free expression.

Our copyright system is not perfect but, like democracy, it is better than the alternatives. It works. We urge our leaders to uphold America’s commitment to the rights of creatives to determine when and how our works are shared in the global marketplace. Please join us to #StandCreative.

 

Pam Abdy

Gary Aberle

Kate Abernathy

Marilyn Agrelo

Trevor Albert

Gilbert Alloul

Jon Amiel

Alan Amman

Gina Amoroso

David Andron

Chris Aronson

Marilyn R. Atlas

Eli Attie

Roger Avary

Sara Paige Smith Backstrom

Jonathan Bader

John Baldecchi

Mark Balsam

George Bamber

Paris Barclay

Paul Barrere

Pam Barrere

Glen Basner

Carol Baum

Craig Baumgarten

Peter Baxter

Jason Beck

Susan Becker

Harold Becker

Larry Becsey

Dion Beebe

Steve Beeks

Betsy Beers

Jessica Bendinger

Jeffrey Bennett

Rick Berg

Alec Berg

Albert Berger

Richard Berger

Scott Bernard

Claire Best

Glenn Bickel

Tony Bill

Michael Birnbaum

Todd Black

Lowell Blank

Jason Blum

Robert Bookman

Bill Borden

Marty Bowen

Chris Brancato

Alexandra Breckenridge

Paul Brooks

Ed Brown

Mark Burg

Graham Burke

Allison Burnett

Sue Cabral-Ebert

Eric Cady

Diane Cairns

Alessandro Camon

Stephen Ryan Carman

Gabrielle Carteris

Benedict Carver

Jon Cassar

Andrew Chamberlain

Melissa Chamberlain

Tom Chen

Cotty Chubb

Dylan Clark

Tena Clark

Jane Clark

Champ Clark

Susan Cleary

Christopher Cleveland

Bruce Cohen

Howard Cohen

Tommy Cole

Bill Condon

John Connor

Stephen F. Cooper

Charlie Corwin

Julie Costanzo

Cindy Cowan

Pierce Cravens

Richard Crowe

Patrick Crowley

Michael Tanner Cusumano

Miriam Cutler

Kirk D’Amico

Eric d’Arbeloff

Caitlin Dahl

Melinda Dahl

Mark Damon

Jonathan Dana

Annette Davey

Andy Davis

Mirza Davitaia

Sharon Day

Nic de Armendi

Martha De Laurentiis

Jonathan Deckter

Deborah Del Prete

Reinhard Denke

Robert Denne

Sylvia Desrochers

Brad Diffley

Chip Diggins

Danny Dimbort

David Dinerstein

Matt Dines

Rosemary DiPietra

Joshua Donen

Samuel Douek

Kristina Dubin

Dennis Dugan

Bill Duke

India Dupré

Count Eldridge

Cassian Elwes

Alison Emilio

Susan Emmer

Robert Emmer

Brad Epstein

Britta Erickson

Blye Faust

Paul Federbush

Jason Felts

Evelina Fernandez

Susan Ferris

Adam Fields

Wendy Finerman

Cesar Fishman

Susan N. Fleishman

John Flock

Christopher Floyd

Beau Flynn

Garson Foos

Brooke Ford

Gary Foster

Lucas Foster

Rob Fox

Anne Marie Fox

Cedering Fox

Elizabeth Frank

Frank Frattaroli

Jeffrey Freedman

Michael Fricklas

Coryander Friend

Sean Furst

David M. Gale

Matthew Galliat-Smith

Sid Ganis

Shannon Gaulding

Donna Gigliotti

Darrien Gipson

Richard Gladstein

Patricia Glaser

Dave Goetsch

Kevin Goetz

Neil Goetz

Bernie Goldmann

Josh Goldstein

Norman Golightly

Joe Goodman

Mike Goodrich

Mark Gordon

Keith Gordon

Shalon Goss

Michael Gracey

Don Granger

Bonnie Greenberg

Jeff Greenstein

Janet Grillo

Nathan Grout

Lisa Guerrero

Taylor Hackford

Jennifer Halperin

Strath Hamilton

Marcy Hamilton

Lisa Hammer

Tod Hardin

Mary Harron

James V. Hart

John N. Hart Jr.

Jere Hausfater

Lisa Henson

Patricia Herskovic

Marshall Herskovitz

James Hirsch

David Hoberman

Matthias Hoene

Michael Hoffman

Russell Hollander

Kaili Hollister

Vanessa Holtgrewe

Joanne Horowitz

Simon Horsman

Lynette Howell Taylor

Gale Anne Hurd

Gregg Hurwitz

Alan Iezman

Kevin Iwashina

Michael A. Jackman

Jenny Jacobi

Wendy Jacobson

Jon Jashni

Ali Jazayeri

Ray Jimenez

Dan Jinks

Mark Johnson

Greg Johnson

Gil Junger

Marilyn Kagan

Chaim Kantor

Steve Kaplan

Penny Karlin

Andrew Karpen

Matt Kaszanek

Michael Kelly

Paul Kelmenson Latinus

CJ Kettler

Charles King

Chloe King

Janna King

Tim Kittleson

Richard Kletter

Jason Kliot

Timothy Knowlton

Hawk Koch

Adam Kolbrenner

Marian Koltai-Levine

Wendy Kout

Wendy Kram

Wayne Kramer

Tony Krantz

Adam Krentzman

John Krokidas

Scott Kroopf

David Ladd

Tova Laiter

David Larkin

Hylton Lea

Tim League

Karrie League

Michelle LeClair

Mark Leibowitz

Adam Leipizig

Peter M. Lenkov

Harry Lennix

Kevin Lezak

Todd Lieberman

Phil LoCicero

Matt Loeb

Matthew D. Loeb

David Lonner

Steve Lovett

Gary Lucchesi

John Lyons

Jason Macleod

Mike MacMillan

Kristie Macosko Krieger

Bettie Madden

Dan Mahoney

Salvy Maleki

Candice Mann

Mike Marcus

Laurence Mark

Peter Marley

Joe Matukewicz

Ron Maxwell

Craig Mazin

Mary Mazzio

Valerie McCaffrey

Rick McGee

Brian McNelis

Bill Mechanic

Chris Meledandri

Michael Menchel

Barry Mendel

Victoria Metzger

Michael Miller

Gev Miron

Christian Moerk

Rich Monahan

Eugene Mopsik

Glenn Morgan

Bobby Moses

Kiersten Myers

Jake Myers

Kea Myers

Diane Nabatoff

Heidi Nakamura

Larry Namer

Jack Nealy

Malcolm Needs

Erick Negri

Beverly Nero

Gil Netter

Evangelina Nevarez

Amy Newmark

Rick Nicita

Ted Nicolaou

Mike Nilon

Will Nix

Chris O’Donnell

Dave O’Farrell

Jerry Offsay

Beth Olson

Tom Ortenberg

Chris Ottinger

Jason Owolwa

Laura Paige

Robert Papazian

Luke Parker Bowles

Andy Paterson

MJ Peckos

Dinah Perez

David Permut

Tim Perrell

Domenica Peterson

Maggie Phillips

Gary Phillips

Brian Phillipson

Pamela Pickering

Lou Pitt

Ellen Pittleman

Amotz Plessner

Mark Pogachefsky

Fredell Pogodin

David Poland

Gavin Polone

Paul Presberger

Dawn Prestwich

Jean Prewitt

John Ptak

Robert Pulcini

Bailey Putnam

Daneen Rackie

Linne Radmin

Samantha Ramirez-Herrera

Mickey Rapkin

Mary Rasenberger

Celine Rattray

Eric Reid

Linda Reisman

Catherine Repola

Rebecca Rhine

Matt Rhodes

Marc Ribot

Sara Risher

J.B. Roberts

Steve Robertson

Doug Robinson

Bobby Rock

Nicole Rocklin

Lise Romanoff

Karen Rosenfelt

Howard Rosenman

Danny Rosett

Ann Roth

Eric Roth

Jay Roth

William J. Rouhana, Jr.

Stacie Rowat

Morris Ruskin

Joshua Russell

Michael Ryan

Aaron Ryder

Nina Sadowsky

David Samuelson

Justin Sanders

Kent Sanderson

Kamron Saraye

Robin Sax

Edward Saxon

Randy Sayer

Teddy Schwarzman

Lloyd Segan

Keri Selig

Jamie Sergeant

Martin Shafer

Robert Shapiro

Jeffrey Sharp

Meyer Shwarzstein

Michelle Shwarzstein

Joni Sighvatsson

Leslie Simon

Shaun Sipos

Allison Smartt

Paul Alan Smith

Daniel George Smith

Buffy Snyder

Blake Spears

Jill Sprecher

Karen Sprecher

Shari Springer Berman

Rachel Stanley

Dustin Stanton

Ellen Steloff

Gary Stiffelman

Andrew Strumme

Karen Stuart

David Styne

Michael Sucsy

Julie Sultan

Cathleen Summers

Kurt Sutter

Dilan Swain

David Swope

Andrew R. Tennenbaum

Kenji Thielstrom

Jason Thomas

Anne Thomopoulos

Bonnie Timmermann

Jennifer Todd

John Toll

Bob Tourtellotte

Lyle Trachtenberg

Jon Turletaub

Larry Turman

Wade Tyree

Jared Underwood

Donald Vasicek

Louis Venosta

Ryan Verniere

Jeff Vespa

Hunter Via

Michele Vice-Maslin

Joana Vicente

Ruth Vitale

DC Vito

Ariel Vromen

John Walsh

Faye Ward

Julia Wayne

Nick Wechsler

Robert Weide

Chris Weitz

Amanda Welles

Adam West

Ron West

Pat White

David P. White

Angela Whiting

Lee Whitmore

Brett Williams

Heather Williams

Ellen Willis

Levi Wilson

Frank Wuliger

Janet Yang

Ron Yerxa

Graham Yost

Jonathan Yunger

J.D. Zeik

Jamie Zelermyer

Lulu Zezza

Donald Zuckerman


 

To view this letter with the full list of over 100,000 signatures, click here.