Thursday, March 22, 2012

That Music Isn't Free!

Do you play music in your business?  Maybe you own a restaurant and play music from CDs or perhaps even hire a live band.  Be careful.  Due to a recent case, Range Road Music, Inc. v. East Coast Foods, Inc., playing that music may cost you a bundle. 

Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles played music that was copyrighted by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ("ASCAP").  Roscoe's would not pay the licensing fee so ASCAP sent in an investigator to listen to the music played in the restaurant.  He heard eight songs licensed by ASCAP played from a CD player and by a live band.  This led to a lawsuit for copyright infringement. 

The defendants (the company and shareholder) were found liable of copyright infringement and statutory damages of $36,000 were imposed.  On top of that the defendants were hit with attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $162,728.22. 

Ouch!  That is a substantial penalty for playing eight lousy songs! 

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