URGENT!!  - Write to your Senators NOW!!!

As you know from the alert posted by Dean Kay, a bill has been passed by the US House of Representatives that will allow restaurants and other small businesses to use songs without paying license fees. This means that all songwriters would lose about 15-20% of their total income.

The bill is now in the Senate and will be voted on shortly.  We all need to write, FAX, and/or email our Senators and urge them to oppose this unfair bill. To find out how to contact your Senators, go to  http://www.senate.gov/senator/state.html.

Here is a copy of the letter I've sent to the two Senators from my state.  If you want to use this letter or any parts of it to send to your Senators, feel free to do so.  We've *got* to stop this travesty from becoming law!

Dear Senator <insert name>,

 The Senate will soon be voting the "Life Plus 70" copyright extension bill (H.R. 2589) and the Music Licensing amendment.  While "Life Plus 70" deserves passage, I urge you to vehemently oppose the Music Licensing amendment, which would be a disastrous injustice for songwriters.

 Please do not be taken in by the idea that music is "incidental" to their main line of business and therefore needn’t be paid for.  Restaurants and other businesses use music to enhance the atmosphere and ambience of their establishments to help them attract customers.  Music is no more "incidental" to these businesses than carpet, light bulbs, wallpaper, etc., and should be paid for just as these items are. Music is important to these businesses, and that is why they use it.

 Songwriters, like any other business people, deserve to be paid for the use of their product.  License fees are the mechanism by which songwriters are compensated.  Allowing restaurant owners the right to have free use of our product for their commercial gain would be wrong.  These fees, which cost restaurant owners an average of  $1.38 per day, about the cost of a soft drink, are an essential part of a songwriter’s livelihood.  If the Music Licensing bill were to pass, it would cost songwriting professionals about 20% of their total income.

 Although some people seem to believe that music should be free, the reality is that songwriters are entrepreneurs who typically struggle for years and invest thousands and thousands of dollars before they see any revenue at all.  Only a minority of songwriters manage to recoup their investments, and fewer still earn enough to allow them to focus their energy exclusively on their songwriting businesses.

 This bill would severely jeopardize our ability to earn a living as songwriters.   Songwriters create the songs that touch all of our lives.  Please allow us to keep doing so.  Oppose the so-called "Fairness in Music Licensing" amendment, which is anything but fair.