Last week, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the keynote address at the Free State Foundation's 8th Annual Telecom Policy Conference. Blackburn has been a longtime supporter of protecting intellectual property and copyright laws in the telecommunications and recording arts industries. Blackburn represents Tennessee's 7th Congressional District — her constituency falls just outside of (arguably) the songwriting capital of the U.S.A. — Nashville, Tennessee.
Like many other industries, which serve as the lifeblood of cities big and small across the U.S., Tennessee's recording arts industry relies on copyright laws to protect the value of its craft in the marketplace. These protections ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their work and can continue to make a living through their God-given talents. Without these protections, the thriving commerce and trade that surrounds Tennessee's creative core would no longer function — threatening the cultural fabric and economic vitality of the region.
In an increasingly globalized economy, America's creative industries face consistent challenges when attempting to protect their ideas and art in foreign nations that do not adhere to the same copyright and intellectual property protections our country provides. With nearly 95% of the world's consumers living outside of our borders — the U.S. must take bold action to ensure our designers, filmmakers, singer-songwriters and creative professionals are compensated for their work abroad.
Free trade agreements, which standardize rules and regulations around copyright and IP laws, are the easiest way to protect America's creative potential while ensuring global consumer access to our rich cultural landscape. Representative Blackburn understands this truth, and we must call on the rest of Congress to mirror her willingness to defend our artists and culture.