ASCAP is again cracking down on establishments which it says are presenting public performances of copyright music from its members without paying the proper license fees. The music licensing group announced that it has sued 21 nightclubs, bars and restaurants in 13 states.
“ASCAP is passionate about music, and we only use legal action as a last resort – after many attempts at an amicable resolution have failed,” said Vincent Candilora, ASCAP Senior Vice President of Licensing. “Just as a bar needs a liquor license, they also need a license to play copyrighted music. Having music in an establishment is an enhancement that draws many patrons to these venues. A music license is a basic cost of business recognized in hundreds of thousands of bars, restaurants and other venues across the US,” he said.
With more than 8.5 million copyrighted songs and compositions in the ASCAP repertory, the organization noted that nearly 90% of the license fees ASCAP collects are paid as royalties directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers.
“ASCAP not only has a right to collect license fees from the users of music, but it also has a responsibility to its songwriter and composer members, the smallest of small business people, to ensure they are adequately compensated for their hard work. The 21 cases filed today aim to heighten awareness among music users and the public that it is a Federal offense to perform copyrighted music without permission,” added Candilora.
Naming names, ASCAP issued a list of the 21 establishments it has sued:
Law’s Lunch & Dinner, Riverside, CA
The Vibe, Riverside, CA
Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Tampa, FL
Empire Dine & Dance, Portland, ME
Doug’s Burger Bar (f/k/a Twister’s Iron Bar Saloon), Imperial, MO
Foxy Lady Club, Raleigh, NC
Vanishing Point Bar and Grill, Mt. Airy, NC
Ron’s Landing, Hampton, NH
Bolero Resort & Conference Center, Wildwood, NJ
Bacchus, New Paltz, NY
Bamboo, East Hampton, NY
Barking Frog, Beacon, NY
The Eagle, New York, NY
Jessie’s Roadhouse, Merrick, NY
Deuces 2, Columbus, OH
Cross Eyed Moose, Oklahoma City, OK
Isla Verde, Philadelphia, PA
Nephew’s, San Marcos, TX
Sister’s Edge II (f/k/a The Cockpit), Austin, TX
The Candy Bar, Richmond, VA
Secrets Restaurant Tavern, Virginia Beach, VA
RBR-TVBR observation: Very seldom do you hear of ASCAP or BMI suing a radio station for failing to have a music license. It is a long-established cost of doing business and the finite number of radio stations is pretty easy to keep track of. But bars and restaurants come and go so often that it is a constant challenge to stay on top of licensing. So, every once in a while ASCAP has to make an example of a few particularly troublesome establishments to drive home the point that if you play music you have to have a license.