Read Marc Ribot's Furious Open Letter to Steve Albini

The Content Creators Coalition is an artist-run, non-profit advocacy group “dedicated to economic justice in the digital domain,” according to its website.

The group, which has a local chapter right here in San Francisco, includes David Byrne, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Bette Midler, and many others — including Marc Ribot — who penned an angry response to some comments Steve Albini made regarding copyright laws in a recent Billboard article titled “Steve Albini: Copyright Has Expired.”


Ribot is a highly celebrated New York City guitarist who has massive respect as an innovator, playing with avant-garde leaders like John Zorn and other “new music” pioneers for the past 30 years, as well as composing and performing in a number of his own bands, including the jazz-fest favorite Los Cubanos Postizos.

Below is Marc Ribot's Open Letter to Steve Albini, in response to recent comments Albini made about copyrights being an “expired concept.”

“Dear Steve Albini,

I’m writing as a recording artist, musician, and activist with c3, the Content Creators Coalition, a working-artist-run organization dedicated to economic justice in the digital domain.

In a recent Billboard article you referred to copyright as an “expired concept.”

You further stated that: “… the intellectual construct of copyright and intellectual property ownership is not realistic…That old copyright model of the person who wrote something down owns it and anyone else who wants to use it or see it has to pay him, I think that model has expired.”

If you truly believe that “Ideas, once expressed, become part of the common mentality. And music, once expressed, becomes part of the common environment…”, are you willing to sign a Creative Commons license placing your entire catalog in the public domain?

Or are you just another lousy hypocrite shilling for Google and other huge tech corporations who have made billions in ad-based profits while using our work, often without paying us or asking our permission, as click bait to increase their advertising rates?

Working artists and musicians, at least those of us who can’t afford to make another record unless the last one paid its production costs, await your response.

Marc Ribot”

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