In another chapter of the saga of music royalty laws coming head-to-head with local business (see our previous blogs on this subject: Don’t Play that Funky Music or You’ll Get Fined and In Bangkok, Music Copyright Law is Even More UpTHAI-t ), the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is suing two Atlanta bars for playing music without a license. Moondogs and Twisted Tavern are being taken to federal court over allegedly failing to purchase the proper licenses in order to “perform” copyrighted music (“perform” can mean a person/band live performing or can refer to playing the recorded music on speakers). ASCAP said that it does its best to contact the business prior to taking legal action, but unless the business pays up, the artists that ASCAP represents won’t get proper credit (aka cold hard cash). “At a certain point … you have no other mechanism for ensuring compliance, ensuring our songwriters are properly compensated,” Jackson Wagener, an ASCAP executive, said in a statement. The goal for ASCAP is collect on unpaid royalties (along with additional fees of some sort) and be sure that the businesses (the two bars in this case) are fully licensed going forward. These bars are just two of ten local businesses named in the latest round of suits from ASCAP, with 17 total so far this year. Moral of the story? If you’re going to play copyrighted music (which is pretty much any popular music) in a place of business, you better be sure you have a license to do so or face the (the potentially very expensive) legal wrath of ASCAP.
If you’re an artist and want to learn more about what ASCAP can do for you, check out our blog post on ASCAP and artists rights: The Associate’s Two Cents: Artist Rights–Right! (Part 1)
And check out the full article this blog post was based on here: Two Atlanta bars sued for playing music without permission
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