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Court’s Decision a Victory In Battle Against Piracy
05 July 2005

The Gospel Music Association (GMA) and several artists praised today’s Supreme Court decision to rule on the side of copyright protection by overturning a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had affirmed file-sharing companies like Grokster, Morpheus and KaZaA are not liable for their users' copyright infringement.

“The gospel music community joins the rest of the music industry in thanking the Supreme Court for its thoughtful, and we believe, correct decision,” said GMA President, John W. Styll. “Today, gospel music artists and everyone making its livelihood in our industry rests easier, knowing that we can continue to create uplifting and edifying music knowing the highest court in our land has declared ‘thou shalt not steal.’”

“MGM vs. Grokster," the lawsuit which the Supreme Court reviewed, was brought by 28 of the world's largest entertainment companies against the makers of the illegal peer-to-peer software products. The GMA has been part of an unprecedented coalition of movie and music organizations through the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in asking the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling and thus, reaffirm the fundamental principles of the protection of private property, including intellectual property.

Several gospel music artists provided their prospective on today’s Supreme Court decision:

Steven Curtis Chapman (Sparrow Records): “Hopefully, this ruling is the beginning of the end of the rapid growth of illegal downloading. It’s often forgotten that there are so many people who are affected by this issue from tour bus drivers to music retailer sales clerks to aspiring young artists. These new artists may never have a chance to be heard if this problem isn’t addressed. The music community needs to continue to stand together to share the gift of music and to also promote traditional and newer technologies that can get music properly to fans.”

Jason Crabb of the Crabb Family (Daywind Records): “I commend the Supreme Court on their stand to protect individuals who draw their income from the music and film industry with today's ruling. I pray the world takes time to educate themselves on the subject of 'file sharing' and the depth of its effect on the world of music. Most people think when they 'file share' it only takes the standard $15 out of the Crabb Family's pocket, but they don't think about my father, who mainly writes our songs, our mother, our wives, our husbands, our children, the dedicated friends who run our office, our bus driver, and so on. This is our life, as well as our livelihood.”

Bart Millard of MercyMe (INO Records): “I think it is a great victory for the music industry, but ultimately a huge victory for fans of music. To have both sides striving to find a way to get music into the hands of the fan while still allowing people to make a living can only mean good things for the consumer.”

Nichole Nordeman (Sparrow Records): “The Supreme Court has given a voice to countless individuals like me who make their living in the creative arts, and are constantly jeopardized by the epidemic of illegal downloading. Their decision is an important victory for us....and a clear warning for many others."

TobyMac (ForeFront Records): “This is a big victory for young artists that are coming up. It is getting harder and harder to break new artists and without decisions like this that protect them, we may lose some of the artistic voices of the next generation."

The GMA has been a vocal supporter of music industry efforts against music piracy as well as having its own campaign, “Millions of Wrongs Don’t Make It Right,” (www.millionsofwrongs.org) aimed primarily at Christian music buyers. Last year, the GMA and Barna Research Group reported on a study which showed that nearly 80 percent of Christian teens were illegally downloading and copying music, a trend that mirrored the overall music industry.

Founded in 1964, the 4,500-member Gospel Music Association (www.gospelmusic.org) is dedicated to exposing, promoting and celebrating the gospel through music. The GMA represents all styles of gospel music including contemporary pop, rock, urban gospel, praise & worship, Southern gospel, country and children’s gospel music. The GMA produces the GMA Music Awards™, which recognizes achievement in all genres of gospel music and are voted on by members of the GMA.

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