An expensive night’s entertainment

by Walter Olson on April 8, 2014

Music rights organization BMI has sued a Cleveland bar seeking up to $1.5 million over one night’s performance by a cover band that allegedly performed ten well-known songs without paying license fees, including “Bad Moon Rising,” “You Really Got Me,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” [OnStage]

{ 7 comments }

1 asdfasdf 04.08.14 at 3:08 pm

The lawsuit filing is here:http://www.onstagemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/BMIvs69Taps.pdf .

The suit does not ask for $1.5 million dollars. It asks for statutory damages, which the accompanying article calculated could be “up to” that amount.

The suit to me looks completely justified. The bar is getting direct financial benefit by playing copyrighted songs without paying the rights holders. Presumably, the bar refused to settle.

Songwriters deserve money when someone makes a profit off their work. If the bar didn’t want to compensate the creators of the work, it shouldn’t have played their songs for money.

2 ras 04.08.14 at 5:03 pm

If nobody wants your current product, you gotta try to make the old stuff pay more somehow.

I predict an eventual upsurge in something akin to the free software approach, whereby music will be licensed free by independent musicians looking to gain recognition, and played widely as a result. Anything’s better than the crap the industry foists on us these days.

/and get off my lawn, too!

3 Jim Collins 04.09.14 at 9:32 am

Why sue the bar? Sue the band. Isn’t it the band’s obligation to take care of this?

4 Bumper 04.09.14 at 1:35 pm

Because bar bands have no money, that’s why they are still a bar band, and moving circularly; they don’t have their act together, i.e., no or not enough original material, which is why they play other people’s songs.

Note: Even the Beatles played cover songs, they just had better lawyers and that was a long time ago when life (the law) was easier.

5 Parkhorse 04.09.14 at 8:34 pm

@Jim: entirely possible the band has next to no assets. The bar owner, on the other hand, owns a bar. The choice of who to sue is obvious.

6 Eric Johnson 04.09.14 at 10:58 pm

@Jim Collins

No. It’s the responsibility of the venue. See ASCAP’s FAQ:
http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.aspx#general

7 D 04.10.14 at 4:49 pm

Wait. This was a bar band. Isn’t their performance covered under parody laws?

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