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Sued for a song: Restaurants and businesses need to pay music licensing fees

Posted by John on May 2nd, 2014

Two news stories highlight the need for business owners to use licensed music services, or try to license their music directly, and avoid costly fines from music copyright organizations.

Sued $18,000 for a Song: Music licensing lawsuits hit CT restaurants

Fined $21,000 for not having permission to play certain music in her establishment

The steady number of lawsuits over the past few years suggests that restaurants, bars and businesses of all types either don’t understand music copyright rules, or underestimate the likelihood of getting contacted and/or sued by license owners.

Restaurateurs and business owners know plenty about the cost of liquor licenses, zoning, staffing and health codes, but a surprising number continue to be unaware and caught by music licensing lawsuits. Read our previous blog about other businesses that have gotten smacked with fines for music copyright violations.
music copyright violation
Federal copyright laws provide songwriters with exclusive rights to their music. Songwriters sign agreements with one of the three organizations to enforce those copyright laws. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC use several methods to find businesses that aren’t registered with them, including sending field representatives to visit establishments.

Licensing directly with BMI, ASCAP and SESAC will likely cost a business much more in dollars, let alone time spent filing and reporting, than simply using a professionally licensed music service like Custom Channels.

Business owners don’t need to feel that they have to do-it-themselves because “no one has my music taste or songs.” With Custom Channels, everything that’s commercially available on downloads or CDs to the public is available to play on the Custom Channels streaming music service. No worries about finding the type, style and a huge number of songs to match your unique taste. And it’s all legal. We pay the licensing fees for all of the businesses who play Custom Channels in their store, office or restaurant.

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