Songwriters from across the globe have come together in an unprecedented alliance to protest the RIAA’s refusal to recognise the moral rights of songwriters.
Songwriters’ moral rights have been protected by legislative framework of The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works since 1928. The Convention outlines basic rights for songwriters and composers including "attribution" or the right to be recognised as the author of a work. At present, 172 signatory countries including the US are signed up to the Berne Convention. The US, however, does not recognise these rights in practice.
Signatories include the British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors (BASCA), European Composer & Songwriter Alliance (ECSA), Music Creators Of North America (MCNA), Songwriters Guild Of America (SGA) and Songwriters Of North America (SONA).
This year, the US Copyright Office has conducted a study into the issue including testimony from creators and submissions by writer organisations in support of the US finally recognising moral rights. The RIAA has continued to refute this position, prompting the penning of the open letter, signed by songwriters and composers across America, Canada and Europe, including 11 organisations that represent tens of thousands of writers.
By Zoë MacLellan