German artists Herbert Grönemeyer, Peter Maffay, Udo Jürgens, Rosenstolz and Tokio Hotel are among the 200-plus signatories for a national campaign calling on greater government support for intellectual property.

Prominent German artists, authors and producers have signed an open letter, published today in German dailies, in which they appeal to federal chancellor Angela Merkel to give top priority to protecting IP.

The project was initiated by the German federal music industry association and other creative industry associations, and comes ahead of Saturday's "Intellectual Property Day."

"We ask you to do everything you can to encourage greater respect of intellectual property in Germany," the letter reads. "Whereas established artists are able to live from past successes, young talents in particular are suffering from the consequences of Internet piracy. In the long term, this will harm our country's cultural and creative diversity. Some of our most important resources for the future are at stake."

The letter goes on to state that millions of music tracks, films and audiobooks are shared over the Internet, and those who created them don't get fair remuneration.

German trade body Bundesverband Musikindustrie recently reported that 312 million tracks had been downloaded illegally in 2007, a figure which dwarfs the legitimate digital music market. Single track downloads were reported at just 35.2 million units.

The open letter also calls upon Internet service providers to join forces with the music and film industries, consumers and data protection experts to develop equitable systems balancing the interests of all parties.