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CONTACT: Patrick Ross
September 13 , 2006
(202) 289-8928
Redstone Proposes Digital Manifesto
PFF Publishes Viacom and CBS Executive Chairman's Aspen Remarks

WASHINGTON D.C. - In an age of digital convergence of media and content, copyright is critical, argued Viacom and CBS Corp. Founder and Executive Chairman Sumner M. Redstone in the Chairman's Dinner address at The Progress & Freedom Foundation Aspen Summit on August 22nd. PFF has published that address as a Progress on Point titled "Copyright is Even More Right in the Digital Age." Redstone outlines three key defenses of copyright in the digital age and lays out a digital manifesto to all industries dealing with digital media.

Ten years after Redstone declared "content is king," that truism still holds. Copyright is key to the creation of content, Redstone declares, because:

  • The Copyright industries are increasingly a major driver of the U.S. economy;
  • Copyright compels creativity; and
  • Copyright is fundamentally right for creator and consumer.

"Entertainment and other copyright exports account for about $626 billion dollars annually or 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product," says Redstone, addressing his first point. "Content – the stuff of books and movies and video games – is as important to today's economy as autos, steel and coal were to yesterday's."

Copyright "furnishes the incentive to innovate," adds Redstone on his second point. "Propose to a dairy farmer that the milk he sells become a free commodity available to all, and he will stop cultivating cows. Why buy the cow, when consumers can get the milk for free?"

Both consumers and creators benefit from copyright, Redstone says. "Now our role and obligation as media companies is to make an efficient market in that creative content... one that compensates the artist and gratifies the consumer at a price point that is reasonable and acceptable to both."

Redstone concludes with a "digital manifesto" to all companies involved in media. "First, let us declare that we are all digital companies... In the long run we all must depend on strong intellectual property to survive and thrive... Second, let us all pledge to experiment. People will try to steal our content, as always, but we will not let that deter us... We will forge ahead in providing the best, most innovative, creative content to the consumer. Third, let us all reiterate our respect for the consumer. They have always been our first priority and will always be. And, finally, let us all press our point of view that the proper role for government is to foster a free market in innovative, creative expression. It has an obligation to protect the content that artists create and that media companies distribute from those who would pirate it."

"Copyright is Even More Right in the Digital Age" is available on the PFF web site, as is a video stream of Redstone’s August 22 nd address. For more information, contact Patrick Ross at 202-289-8928 or

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation