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BMI Joins Copyright Awareness Week Celebrations

Posted in News on March 15, 2005
The Copyright Society of the USA has partnered with MENC: The National Association for Music Education to present the 4th annual Copyright Awareness Week (CAW) being held March 21-25. Co-sponsored by BMI, the goal of this national event is to teach students the basic concepts of copyright and to encourage an understanding and respect for the rights of creative people provided by federal copyright law.

Click here to listen to a copyright message from John Legend (1:01)
Click here to listen to a copyright message from Gavin DeGraw (1:05)
Listen to copyright messages from 3 Doors Down, Deborah Allen, Leslie Satcher, and Paul Overstreet

At a reception held in Washington, DC on March 14, members of Congress, executives from the U.S. Copyright Office, and members of the creative and entertainment communities gathered in the famed James Madison Room at the Library of Congress to kick-off the week's activities. Hosted by CAW Chair Monica Corton, speakers included Barry Slotnick, president of the Copyright Society and Marybeth Peters, the U.S. Register of Copyrights.

Pictured after the kick-off event are Copyright Society President Barry Slotnick, BMI's Fred Cannon, BMI singer/songwriter Deborah Allen, Barbour Griffith & Rogers VP Brad Blakeman, music publisher Helene Blue and BMI's Robbin Ahrold

In addition to classroom sessions around the country, an array of stars will launch a radio PSA campaign in support of Copyright Awareness Week that will air on some 2,000 radio stations. The glittering lineup of PSA celebrities includes such BMI artists and songwriters as 3 Doors Down, Gavin DeGraw, John Legend, Martina McBride, Paul Overstreet, Leslie Satcher and country artist Deborah Allen, who also performed at the March 14 reception.

Copyright Awareness Week comes just days before the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Grokster case. The March 29 hearing will decide whether or not Grokster -- a company that provides peer-to-peer file-sharing software -- will be "contributory infringers" or "vicariously liable" for the infringement activities of the users of its software. BMI has joined with many others in the creative community in urging the Supreme Court to render a judgment that protects intellectual property. The Court's decision in the case, expected by July, could be a major turning point either in the direction of improved copyright protection or economic undermining of singers, songwriters and other creators whose works are used without compensation.

Other sponsors of CAW 2005 include the American Bar Association's Intellectual Property Section, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Harry Fox Agency, Time-Warner, Inc and ASCAP.

The U.S. Copyright Office, located in the Library of Congress, is also participating in Copyright Awareness Week. Students may visit the Copyright Office during that week and get an orientation on copyright both as users and creators. The orientation will include seeing the Copyright Office exhibit, a brief history and overview of current copyright issues, as well as a mini-workshop on how to register claims to creative works. To arrange a visit to the Copyright Office, teachers should contact Peter Vankevich at 202-707-0600.