ASCAP takes legal action against 12 venues nationwide
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced recently that it has filed 12 separate copyright infringement actions against bars and restaurants nationwide, arising out of the unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works. One of the infringing venues is Knockouts Gentlemen’s Club in Arcadia.
ASCAP is a membership association that operates on a non-profit basis and represents more than 680,000 independent songwriters, composers and music publishers. ASCAP ensures its members can earn a living from their art by licensing the public performances of their songs, collecting those license fees, and distributing royalties to its members. Nearly 88 percent of the license fees ASCAP collects go directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers as royalties.
“When you see a patron at your business bobbing their head along to the music, you see firsthand the value music can add to any environment,” commented ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing Stephanie Ruyle. “Music plays a key role in creating an emotional connection with customers; hundreds of thousands of businesses understand that and accept that a music license is part of the cost of doing business. Our goal is to have businesses comply with the law so that our members can be compensated for use of their work, and the establishments sued today have decided not to pay songwriters. By filing these actions, ASCAP is standing up for songwriters whose creative work brings great value to all businesses that publicly perform their music.”
Songwriters earn their livelihoods by licensing the performance right granted to them under the copyright law. Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully through a simple license, which covers the entire ASCAP repertory of over 11.5 million musical works. The average cost for bars and restaurants amounts to less than just $2 per day for the right to play an unlimited amount of music.
Songwriter and ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams added: “We want every business that uses music to prosper, including bars and restaurants. After all, as songwriters and composers, we are small business owners too and music is more than an art form for us. It’s how we put food on the table and send our kids to school. Most businesses know that an ASCAP license allows them to offer music legally, efficiently and at a reasonable price – while compensating music creators so we can earn a living from our work and keep doing what we do best – writing music.”
ASCAP has made numerous attempts at the establishments listed below to offer a license and educate the business owners about their obligations under federal copyright law. Despite these efforts, the owners of these establishments repeatedly have refused to take or honor a license. Instead, they have continued to perform the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members for the entertainment of their patrons without obtaining permission to do so.
- Barnacles, Duluth, Ga.
- Dante’s, Portland, Ore.
- High Dive, Seattle.
- Knockouts Gentlemen’s Club, Arcadia, Calif.
- Legends Sports Bar & Grill, Las Vegas.
- Lunasea, Virginia Beach, Va.
- Mangos Beach Bar, Las Vegas.
- Margarita Jones, Huntington Park, Calif.
- Park Avenue, Dallas.
- Ralph’s Rock Diner, Worcester, Mass.
- Playhouse Nightclub, Los Angeles.
- Tortuga’s Latin Kitchen, Chicago.
More information about ASCAP’s licensing of bars, restaurants and music venues can be found on ASCAP’s website at ascap.com/whywelicensevenues.