November 08, 2007 08:00 ET

ASCAP and i-SAFE Bring Youth Music Piracy Educational Program to Capitol Hill

Backus Middle School Students Attend "Donny the Downloader" Assembly; Music Creators Bill Danoff, Wynter Gordon and Rep. Mary Bono to Speak With Students

NEW YORK, NY and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - November 8, 2007) - The American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing over 300,000 music creators and copyright owners, and i-SAFE Inc.™, the worldwide leader in Internet safety education, will host a special interactive assembly program today in Washington, D.C. The assembly, entitled "The Donny the Downloader Experience," aims to help young people understand the impact of music piracy, and will begin at 9:30 a.m. in room 2105 of the Rayburn House office building.

Students from Backus Middle School will participate in "The Donny the Downloader Experience" assembly and hear from ASCAP members Wynter Gordon ("Gonna Breakthrough") and Bill Danoff ("Afternoon Delight," "Take Me Home Country Roads"). In addition, Gordon, who has worked with Mary J. Blige and Danity Kane, will also feature a sneak peak of one of the songs from her upcoming debut album. Both members will share their experiences as music creators and how they have been impacted by music piracy in their careers.

In addition, Representative Mary Bono (CA) who serves as vice-chair of Congress's entertainment task force and founder of the recording arts and sciences caucus, will speak with students on the complex issue of music piracy. Bono is a founding co-chair of the intellectual property promotion and piracy prevention caucus.

"ASCAP is committed to being the voice of the music creator and music piracy is certainly one of the hot button issues affecting our members," said Phil Crosland, executive vice president of Marketing for ASCAP. "The Donny the Downloader program has been experienced by more than a quarter of a million students across the U.S. to date and we felt it was the right time to bring it directly to legislators on Capitol Hill."

The centerpiece of "The Donny the Downloader Experience" curriculum is a multi-media school assembly program featuring fast-paced animated videos starring the misadventures of Donny. Donny is a 14-year-old who's tech-savvy, but unaware of the bigger picture of why illegal downloading hurts the same songwriters and performing artists whose music he loves. The program centers on the negative reactions from the other kids and adults in his life who he tries to impress with his access to supposedly "free" music, while demystifying the process of how music is created.

In addition to the animated "Donny" segments, the assembly also features compelling video segments that introduce real-life, 17-year-old aspiring music creator, Sonya Bender. The video follows Sonya as she meets with music creators, producers and publishers to get an unfiltered perspective on how illegally downloaded music negatively impacts their ability to make a living from being creative. The assembly experience also includes an interactive component, where students perform a special "Donny" skit to help reinforce what they've learned.

For more information on "The Donny the Downloader Experience," please visit


Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 300,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with over 90 music rights organizations such that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American Performing Rights Organization owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.

About i-SAFE

Founded in 1998, i-SAFE Inc. is the leader in Internet safety education. Available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Department of Defense schools located across the world, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to educate and empower youth to make their Internet experiences safe and responsible. The goal is to educate students on how to avoid dangerous, inappropriate, or unlawful online behavior. i-SAFE accomplishes this through dynamic K-12 curriculum and community outreach programs to parents, law enforcement, and community leaders. It is the only Internet safety foundation to combine these elements.

Since its inception, i-SAFE has revolutionized the way the world looks at Internet safety education. In this day and age everyone knows students can explore the marvels of the world and travel to the most intelligent realms of our galaxy on the Internet. But many do not know if students are not aware, they can become entrapped in the darkest most detestable realms of the human imagination. Concerned people now realize awareness and true safety online is not found in software filters -- it is found in education and community support. Educated people realize true education and community support is found within i-SAFE.