By The Time We Get To Woodstock….
This Tuesday, Zephyr Teachout, director of the anti-artist FFTF (Fight For The Future)’s 501c3, is running in the Democratic primary in NY’s 19th congressional district (Hudson Valley, including Woodstock)
Although Teachout is running as a progressive, and is indeed progressive on many issues, the FFTF is about as regressive on artists rights/copyright as possible.
After unsuccessfully trying to get Teachout to clarify her relation to the anti-artist positions of FFTF, NY based “Musicians Action group” [MA.g] activists sounded the alarm through a mass emailing to Hudson Valley musicians:
“Many of us are democrats who share Teachout’s progressive views on many issues. But creators’ families are Working Families, too, and copyright is how we get paid. So we’re asking Zephyr Teachout: Which Side Are You On?”. The email asked everyone to send Teachout 4 questions (see below).
According to MA.g spokesperson Marc Ribot, “the response from musicians/creators has been extremely positive.
Legendary Jazz drummer and Hudson Valley resident Jack DeJohnette copied us on the letter he and his wife Lydia sent Teachout, along with MA.g’s 4 questions. We think Jack and Lydia’s eloquent letter speaks for MANY, in Hudson Valley and beyond.”
Jack and Lydia DeJohnette Letter to Teachout
Dear Ms Teachout,
My wife and I have been following you since your run for governor with interest. We are progressives and along with the rest of us are disturbed by a lot of what we perceive as self-serving politicians who seem to have forgotten who puts them in office and who they should be serving.
You have impressed us on many issues, however, the attached letter speaks to issues that are directly impacting our lives as artists.
The Hudson Valley has according to Mike Hein,county executive, the largest group of artists per capita in the USA living in it. My wife and I have lived here over 40 years and raised our family here. It disturbs me that someone who seems to be running in support of the people is not further tuned in to the needs of us artists, who ultimately might be your constituents.
Since downloads and YouTube started my recorded music royalties have declined by over 90%, I am all over YouTube, everyone but me gets an income from this.
The internet has virtually destroyed my royalty income, from radio to illegal downloads. I am not a famous rock star who can get heavy duty lawyers fighting for me. I am a jazz musician, we have never been represented in the ‘big picture’, our sales are considered paltry by the industry.
Technology is in advance of regulations, our only hope is that our politicians take up the cause for us and work to bring in legislation that protects us, we hope you will become that champion. If you support us in this issue, we will consider supporting you further. Please respond to the four questions posed in the attachment.
I am a senior now and at one time in the past I had expected to retire with some royalty income as a back up, unfortunately that is no longer. As the corporations behind the music industry are getting bigger and bigger.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Jack & Lydia DeJohnette
Four Questions for Zephyr Teachout Candidate US House of Representatives Democratic Primary NY-19
- Do you personally support the anti-artist, anti-copyright agenda of Fight For The Future, where you served as Director of the Education Fund? If so, please explain why you hold that position. If not, please explain how your views differ from the messages of that organization.
- Do you recognize that mass, online copyright infringement causes direct harm to people like me? As my prospective representative, will you fight for my ability to support myself and my family with my creative work?
- You’re running on a message that is very important to democrats – holding corporations accountable and getting big money out of politics. Can you say without equivocation that Fight For The Future reflects these values?
- Do you support Jerrold Nadler’s Fair Play Fair Pay bill, which would bring the US into conformity with the rest of the free industrialized world by paying artists for the commercial, terrestrial radio broadcast of their work (and put tens of millions in foreign royalties now being withheld due to the lack of US reciprocity into the pockets of US working artists)?