A letter to President Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden asking the administration to pursue policies supportive of the rights of artists has garnered nearly 7,000 electronic signatures, according to the Copyright Alliance.

"Artists and creators make important contributions not only to our society and culture, but also to our economy," the Copyright Alliance director of outreach Lucinda Dugger, said in a statement. "Increasingly, creators are finding their work misappropriated, reproduced and distributed without their knowledge, consent or benefit by those who believe intellectual property should be free for the taking. It is important that creators speak up about their works and how the principle of copyright empowers and provides incentive for creators to earn a living with their talents and ideas."

The signatures were collected in a "few days" of circulation among the Alliance's grassroots network. A release stated that a variety of rights holders signed the letter, including authors, photographers, songwriters, graphic designers, filmmakers, musicians, publishers, jewelry designers, web designers, photojournalists, illustrators, video game developers, architects, cartoonists, composers, playwrights, voice actors, animators, sculptors, painters and videographers,

In 2007, copyright industries in the U.S. contributed $1.52 trillion to the nation's GDP; and employed over 11 million workers, and represented over 43 percent of the U.S. economy's total real growth between 2006 and 2007, according to a statement that cited the "Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy, the 2003-2007 Report." The report was compiled by Stephen E. Siwek of Economists Inc. for the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

The announcement about the letter comes several days after the President Obama nominated Victoria Espinel to the position of intellectual property enforcement coordinator.

"We believe the Obama Administration understands and values the important contributions creators make in our society," said Copyright Alliance Executive Director Patrick Ross. The appointment of Espinel "was a strong sign by the Administration that it believes in the importance of creators' rights and seeing those rights are enforced here and abroad. But there is much more that needs to be done, such as ensuring Ms. Espinel has the tools and resources to do her job and receives the cooperation she needs from key officials throughout the Administration. We'll be watching with optimism."

Those interested in signing the letter can do so at www.copyrightalliance.org/letter. The Alliance intends to deliver the letter to the administration later this fall.

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