Stephen Schwartz, Lin Manuel Miranda & Jason Robert Brown Join Fight Against Sheet Music Piracy
Yesterday, at an anti-piracy awareness event hosted by the Dramatists Guild, famed Broadway composers including Stephen Schwartz, Jason Robert Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, Stephen Flaherty, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman joined forces to express their support for the cause.
"You wouldn't walk into a music store and walk out with a piece of music under your arm. So why would it be acceptable to do it online," Schwartz told the Associated Press at the event. "I just went to the first of the Web sites that I'm going to be emailing, and I typed my name in to see how many individual pieces of sheet music that were available for free of mine - over 11,000." He added, "I didn't know I had that many pieces of music!"
The idea of banding together to fight sheet music piracy began a few years ago, when composer and Dramatists Guild member Georgia Stitt, wife of "Bridges of Madison County" composer Jason Robert Brown, discovered that her husband's sheet music was being illegally downloaded. Explained Brown, "About three or four years ago, when Georgia had told me about it and I got on the Internet, I saw a whole list, about three or four hundred people pirating my sheet music that day, and I said `I'm just going to write them." He joked, "If Stephen Sondheim had written to me when I was 20 years old, when I was 16 years old, I would have had an aneurism. It's more of a reason to take somebody seriously."
'In the Heights' Tony-winning composer Miranda gives some illegal downloaders the benefit of the doubt, commenting that perhaps they are unaware of the impact their actions have on the artist. "Musical theater artists, we thrive on productions and we thrive on sheet music. That's our bread and butter," he said. "We're not ranked iTunes artists. We create for live productions, so we suffer more than most in this era where you can download anything."
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