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Music industry asks Trump to crack down on illegal file-sharing and downloading sites

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A group of music industry organizations sent President-elect Donald Trump a letter today, urging him to focus on intellectual property protections during his presidency, Variety reports. The letter, signed by companies like ASCAP, BMI, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), asks Trump to consider the issue of music piracy ahead of his Silicon Valley “tech summit” tomorrow.

The letter claims that some search engines and file-sharing sites are guilty of “perversely abusing US law to underpay music creators,” by taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to download or host music illegally.

“Surely the world’s most sophisticated technology corporations can do better – by helping to prevent illegal access and paying fair market value for music with prices set by or based on the free market,” the letter says. “Strong protection for intellectual property rights will assure growth in both creativity and technology, benefiting the American economy as a whole.”

The letter doesn’t name any specific offenders or potential courses of action, but the general tone (“pay attention to this”) aligns with what industry groups have been saying for years. This past April, musicians and industry execs sent a petition to the US Copyright Office claiming that platforms like YouTube and Tumblr were profiting from illegal streams. And while streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify offer a legal alternative to listeners who don’t want to buy, the rise of album exclusives and fragmented offerings can make piracy start to look like an appealing option.