Stop Apple & Spotify breaching Equality Act and restricting artists' freedom of expression

Stop Apple & Spotify breaching Equality Act and restricting artists' freedom of expression

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Craig Chant started this petition to Apple and

As a passionate and deeply affected autistic lover of musical sound as well as an avid producer of electronic dance music.

Being able to express myself not just musically with sound, but through the words and letters used in the names given to the tracks as well as the artwork that accompanies it, is very important!  

It is extremely liberating and empowering to have complete artistic control over your art, especially when you have little control over other things in life due to your disability and being able to do it in a way that allows you to express yourself, your way, with your words, your spelling, your inflection, your symbolism, your meaning, your emotion, your personality, your soul!

Though more importantly in a way that doesn't cause you distress, discomfort, anxiety or a feeling of disdain.

I know to some this might seem trivial, but words, sentences and phrases, especially, titles, written a certain way can really bother autistic's like me.

Spelling errors, text speak, bad grammar, can really bug people with certain conditions such as Autism.

The physical repulsion we feel and experience, is real and not something that can be controlled or switched off, it's part of what makes communication so difficult for us as well as very time consuming, it's a daily battle, that many really just don't understand.

I can't bare to think of the amount of time I waste editing posts on Facebook or on other social media platform comments to correct errors, typos, grammar, punctuation, spacing etc, or how much it annoys me and makes me feel embarrassed, when there is no edit feature, while others are clearly not bothered, as at times their posts seem to be barely legible or coherent, and yet make no effort to correct them, however, it drives me nuts!

So when I went to release a new album for one of the artists on my record label, I was bewildered, why when I was trying to enter "GET A BANG" into the title field, through my distributor's web portal (DigDis) , it kept changing the 'A' to 'a'.

AGGHHH, I cannot stand that, titles that do not have EVERY word including prepositions and single letter words such as A, with the first letter capitalised.

Uniformity is a very troublesome thing for many on the Autism Spectrum, many of which require routine, neatness, homogeneity, symmetry and visual alignment.

However, when I submitted the release, it was rejected, the reason given was that you cannot have all words with capital letters and you must have prepositions in lower case unless they are the first word in the title, and the first and last words must be capitalised.

I was livid, firstly how dare a distribution company think they can tell the record label or the artist how they MUST spell and write the title of their tracks, they have no jurisdiction what-so-ever over the domain of artistic licence.

It's not like I am trying to be abusive, use foul language, insult any one, or anything of that nature, this is not about the right to offend!

The distribution company (Dig Dis) also has no right to dictate to the disabled how they must express themselves and the way that they must do it, especially if it causes them distress and anxiety, as well as infringes on their rights to freedom of speech and self expression.

Not to mention, as this bugs me so much, I had already had discussions with the artist asking them for permission to change the way it was written, and they were very understanding and supportive, where I agreed I would display them all upper case to avoid any discomfort to me.

So I complained to the distribution company (Dig Dis), stating my disability, my rights to artistic expression and artistic licence over the tracks as well as asking for reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act due to the distress this causes me.

Well I was gobsmacked by their reply :-

"I understand you in this case but unfortunately we must follow the rules of the biggest stores. (for example Itunes and spotify) "

That's right, they acknowledge my disability status and request for reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act, yet I have been told by DigDis (Music Mail Tonträger GmbH), that Apple (iTunes / Apple Music) & Spotify, have enforced these discriminatory rules, and they consider them to be more important than any disability and they also override my rights under the Equality Act.

Not only that but surely as Apple is an American company, this breaches their 1st amendment on free speech!

Now don't get me wrong, if Apple or anyone else want to display titles on their platform in a particular way, that is their prerogative and the computer programmers should use what is known as text-transforms to display it however they so wish, I know, I am an IT expert, who has written code to do exactly that for many websites and applications for many years!

However, they cannot, must not and DO NOT have the right to dictate to disabled people or anyone else for that matter, how they must express themselves, especially if that way causes them distress.

Apple & Spotify appear to be engaging in draconian, authoritarian and discriminatory behavior, in breach of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, artistic licence as well as the Equality Act.

Actively denying disabled people access to services due to the way they express themselves that Apple & Spotify have decided they don't like.

This bigotry intolerance must be stopped and all companies no matter how big they are must never be allowed to restrict, dictate or enforce how you express yourself or communicate through your musical artistry and language use.

So please, sign this petition and share far and wide, the ability to express yourself and communicate in a way you feel comfortable with is more important than you may realise.

Apple & Spotify must never be allowed to take this right and freedom of expression away from not just the disabled but all artists in the music industry, don't you think they take enough from us artists already!

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