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Businesses Busted For Not Paying Music Copyright Fees

Posted by John on January 4th, 2012

The music police are out there.

You may have heard that it is illegal to play music in a business without playing the licensing fees and copyright holders. BMI. ASCAP. SEASAC. SoundExchange. Yes, someone IS checking to see if individual businesses and franchises actually DO pay all the fees to all the collection agencies.

A restaurant in Austin, TX, is being taken to court by BMI for not paying licensing fees. BMI has tried more than 100 times to contact and convince the restaurant in an effort to collect fees. “Our goal is just to get them licensed. In court is not where BMI wants to be,” said a BMI spokesperson.  But court is where they will go.
BMI has gone after a bar near Sarasota, FL for using karaoke music without paying the licensing fees.  All copyrighted songs played in public – from karaoke to cover bands – require that the business owners pay the fees, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars for each copyright holder.
And the other big copyright enforcer, ASCAP, tagged the Courtney Creek Christian Bookstore in Lebanon, OR, for not paying.  That business sponsors live music on Friday nights and was surprised to be told to pay a licensing fee of nearly $2,300 to ASCAP.
And these just the publicized cases.  BMI says it typically files 100 to 200 lawsuits each year, accusing businesses of running afoul of its music licensing requirements.
Don’t wait for the music police to show up.  We recommend that if your business, single operation or multiple stores, is playing music for the benefit of your customers, don’t try to figure out the complicated licensing arrangements of every copyright holder. You’ve got better things to do.

ALL music on Custom Channels is fully licensed and there’s no extra fees to pay – it’s all included with your Custom Channels service.

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