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Restaurants sued over music copyrights

From Nation’s Restaurant News:

Restaurants sued over music copyrights
June 23, 2010 | By Elissa Elan

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP, filed 21 separate copyright infringement lawsuits against restaurants, bars and nightclubs in 13 states, officials for the music society said this week.

ASCAP alleged that each of the businesses it filed suit against either publicly performed the copyrighted music of ASCAP songwriters, composers and publishers without obtaining a license to do so, or did not pay the required licensing fees.

Read the rest of the article here:

This isn’t a story that directly impacts waiters, but I thought it would be interesting background.

Most people don’t realize that if you play music in a public setting for commercial purposes, either prerecorded or live, royalties must be paid to both the artists and the songwriters.

Many restaurants use a canned music service and in those cases, the royalties are covered by the fee that the restaurant pays. But some restaurants either have live music or play music from their own sound systems. In those cases, royalties must be paid to organizations like BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.

And, trust me, those organizations send out representatives to make sure that royalties are paid.

So, if any bar or restaurant owners are reading this blog, you may want to make sure that you’re dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Royalty organizations are tightening the screws.

By the way, the same thing is true for broadcasting professional sports on TV.

One response to “Restaurants sued over music copyrights

  1. tipsfortips June 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    It can affect servers. I worked at a French restaurant where the Chef got popped for this in the 80s. His response was to buy a system that played specially designed cassettes of music that had it’s copyright expired and ran on an endless loop. By the time I got there in the late 90s, the tapes were no longer made and he only had one left. Listening to the same 60 minutes of music for two years has left a permanent scar on my brain.

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