Nashville songwriters are working to end illegal downloading of their songs.
Economic losses from the illegal downloads are in the billions and more than 70,000 jobs have been loss due to online piracy.
Clay Mills, who has written several number one hits, including Diamond Rio's “Beautiful Mess”, agrees that more needs to be done to protect songwriters.
“Artists can sell merchandize. Record labels can still have ways of making money. They still get a piece of the artist's touring, the artist's merchandise. But song writers, we have our songs and that's it,” explained Mills.
Songwriters make their money through mechanical royalties such as CD sales and iTunes sales, and performance royalties, which come through satellite and Internet radio.
Both can pay pennies or a fraction of pennies on the dollar.
“If we could educate people that when they aren't paying people for music, then somebody created that and just pay for it. Just go to iTunes. Download it. Pay 99-cents. It's cheaper than a cup of coffee, ” said Mills.
Bart Herbison of the National Songwriters Association International has a new measure in Washington, D.C. called the Songwriters Equity Act. It would give songwriters more money when their songs are played on Internet radio.