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(Cleveland Scene)   Cover band caused "great and incalculable damage" according to BMI   (clevescene.com) divider line 89
    More: Fail, Medina, BMI, cover bands, performing rights, Rick Springfield, music licensing, brown eye, statutory damages  
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16533 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Mar 2014 at 9:46 AM (17 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2014-03-23 10:17:28 AM
7 votes:
BMI, ASCAP, SECAM....can all go to hell. The tactics they use are nothing short of old-school mafia "protection" scams.
d23 [TotalFark]
2014-03-23 10:19:03 AM
4 votes:

Lokkii: The only people complaining about this lawsuit  are those who have never created anything of value.


oh dear. you need to shut up and go sit down over there.

//produced dozens of DVDs...
///just TRY to properly license music as a "little guy" and see how far you get
d23 [TotalFark]
2014-03-23 10:17:20 AM
4 votes:

Secret Agent X23: ryano913: Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?

That's exactly what they do. I know someone who does this--go to the bar for an evening and then file a report on what music was played. The reason this bar got caught is just that they got unlucky enough for BMI to send someone there. I don't know what the basis is for deciding where to send these folks.


For "church" venues at least, there is a recording period every 3 to 4 years where the venue has to file a report about what music they used as well.  Don't know about bars, but it wouldn't surprise me if they have to do something similar as this is how BMI decides how many pennies they are going to pay songwriters.

I suggest everyone reading this thread go read about how much other groups are actually paying songwriters.  This isn't about paying artists, this is just like 99% of everything else in U.S. society right now: it's about corporate greed and that's it.
2014-03-23 09:56:21 AM
4 votes:

edmo: Do they have a sales tax license? Liquor? Business? Do they steal ESPN?

It ain't rocket science.


Right.  The reason the hundreds of other bands out there playing cover songs didn't raise concerns is because the establishments hosting them were playing by the rules.  Unless The bar is being sued for eleventy kajillion dollars or some other comically excessive amount, I don't see the problem with this.   As for the "great and incalculable damage", that's just legal-ese for "if we let them get away with it, everyone else will do the same."
2014-03-23 09:53:49 AM
4 votes:
I wish it actually did do great and incalculable damage.
2014-03-23 08:55:55 AM
4 votes:
Do they have a sales tax license? Liquor? Business? Do they steal ESPN?

It ain't rocket science.
2014-03-23 11:21:58 AM
3 votes:
Farking parasites.
2014-03-23 10:37:43 AM
3 votes:

italie: d23: Secret Agent X23: ryano913: Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?

That's exactly what they do. I know someone who does this--go to the bar for an evening and then file a report on what music was played. The reason this bar got caught is just that they got unlucky enough for BMI to send someone there. I don't know what the basis is for deciding where to send these folks.

For "church" venues at least, there is a recording period every 3 to 4 years where the venue has to file a report about what music they used as well.  Don't know about bars, but it wouldn't surprise me if they have to do something similar as this is how BMI decides how many pennies they are going to pay songwriters.

I suggest everyone reading this thread go read about how much other groups are actually paying songwriters.  This isn't about paying artists, this is just like 99% of everything else in U.S. society right now: it's about corporate greed and that's it.


All of these licensing companies expect bars to pay a fee if they have ANY noise playing in their establishment. Even a radio in the kitchen is subject to their discretion. They will contact bar owners, daily, and remind them that they should be paying dues to make sure they are covered in the event one of the songs licensed by them is played and customers can hear it.

Nights, like this one, where a bar owner isn't paying "dues", and one of these companies just "happens" to be in attendance....well...this is the result.


This is exactly why the background music over the speakers in my place is via a  SiriusXM Business Internet Radio player. If anyone asks I can tell them to EABOD's, we're legal. The subscription covers royalty fees and allows me to play it in our business.
2014-03-23 10:36:21 AM
3 votes:
For the record, most bar owners aren't aware of this silly law for one reason. The source of their music (jukeboxes) are provided by 3rd party vendors who obtain these licenses for them. I would think if the jukebox has a license it should cover any live music played there as well. Problem solved.

/also, support your local scene. Don't hire parrots.
//also problem solved.
2014-03-23 10:26:41 AM
3 votes:
Are there any bigger drama queens than the giant music licensing organizations?

No. No there are not. Even Perez Hilton and Chris Crocker look at this shiat and go "Whoa, man, settle down."
d23 [TotalFark]
2014-03-23 10:10:33 AM
3 votes:
rilm.files.wordpress.com

The bullshiat continues.
2014-03-23 10:08:15 AM
3 votes:

Great_Milenko: Relatively Obscure: I wish it actually did do great and incalculable damage.

Why?


Because at least these lawsuits would have farking merit. As is, it's bullshiat. It's not like people are refusing to see those bands because they saw a cover band. The songs listed are mainly by non-touring or broken up bands, so you can never hear it live again. The idea that you have to pay money to play a cover song in a farking bar is retarded.
2014-03-23 10:05:56 AM
3 votes:

mbillips: Don't all of those venues already know that and pay the fee? What makes this crappy bar in Cleveland such a special snowflake?


This is not uncommon when someone completely alien to the industry decides to open their own restaurant. These also tend to be the same types of owners that steal tips from their servers.
2014-03-23 09:49:48 AM
3 votes:
To a copyright lawyer, someone somewhere out there singing a song IS the end of their sad f*cking world.
2014-03-23 04:30:49 PM
2 votes:

bunner: Fuggin Bizzy: bunner: Every cover song is somebody's original song.  So it goes.  And if we don't start laying down our 9.99 for stuff we like, we're all gonna end up in your bedrooms with a copy of Reaper, a Casio and our little sister trying to howl her way through our latest opus in Gm because the people who are good at it all work at Home Depot, now.

I buy copies of all the music I listen to (with the exception of Spotify, where I pay $5 a month to find/try new music before I buy it) and I always have. But there has to be a happy medium somewhere in between "Music should be free because after all the Internet" and the strong-arm tactics of gold-digging groups like the RIAA and BMI.

Agreed.  I believe it more then likely simply honesty and fairness on the part of the people who both produce and own music keeping each other's lights on.  Nobody would have the balls to walk into a McDonalds and leave 99¢ on the counter for a 4.99 sandwich, but yet, a 45 costs 1.09 in 1964 and so far, it hasn't been caught up to infaltion.  And yet, you're buying something you want that you can keep forever and keeping the people who make it living indoors.  That's a fair deal and the more peope wh subscribe to it, the better music will be.


Then bar owners should also get a discount for any deaf patrons in the place.
2014-03-23 02:48:49 PM
2 votes:
And if you really don't value arts and music, paint every single thing you own white and put in a pair of earplugs and some sleep shades and spend your life in your lovely sensory deprivation tank.  Art keeps you sane, kids.  And it's cheaper than anti-psychotics and the doctor to prescribe them.  The guy who drew the crap on your cereal box got paid.  Cough up a few bucks for the band that did that song that benchmarks a time in your life.
2014-03-23 02:10:51 PM
2 votes:

Sticky Hands: good. bar music is always too goddamn loud anyway.


I've mixed over 3,400 live shows, many of them in bars, and I tend to agree with you.  I also blame snotty, arrogant guitar players whose dicks are hard wired to their volume knobs and get shirty when you ask them to turn the f*ck down so that the people can hear, oddly, the whole band and the whoel mix.  I realize your mom thinks you're Eric Clapton v.2.0 but if you suck at 93 dBA, you suck.   And adding another 10dB doesn't help.  It just makes the sucking physically hurt your ears.  Remember, kids.  If it's too loud, it's too loud.  And that cool, hip young person that is grimacing in the corner while you deafen them isn't cool and hip and he doesn't "get it", he just assumes that ear pain is a part of the process.  It isn't.
2014-03-23 01:37:35 PM
2 votes:

Old_Covered_Bridge: While I'm no fan of BMI, ASCAP and the rest, the venues can usually negotiate the license fee and it's based on how often you have music, what the seating capacity is, etc.  I once played a coffee house and after the gig, when it was time to get paid, I had to hear a 15 min. rant from the owner about how much music costs him, what with the licensing fees that add up to $1000/year.  I calmly pointed out to him that he has live music twice a week - 100 nights a year and his $1000 only comes to ten bucks a performance.  Never playing there again.



Did you bring him $10 a night in additional revenue on top of what he paid you? If so, probably wasn't really worth it for him and he was being nice to you...
2014-03-23 12:49:00 PM
2 votes:

WGJ: The real crime here is BMI collecting $944 million and only distributing $814 million to songwriters, composers, and music publishers. And I'm guessing the publishers get most of that money as well.


That's 86.2% of what is collected distributed to where it belongs if the numbers are true. I can live with >15% kept for the cost of collecting and processing payments. It's better than most non-profit/charity collection organization do. I expected the number to be more like 50%.

I was also surprised it was the bar that needed to be licensed...somehow I always thought the band/DJ had to pay the royalties.
2014-03-23 12:16:38 PM
2 votes:

MFK: Stoker: Farking parasites.

yeah, the musicians who spent all the time and money crafting, recording and distributing the music you want to hear when you go out to the bar are farking parasites for demanding compensation from people who use their work in their commercial endeavors.


The musicians aren't demanding compensation, the recording company is.  If damages are awarded, the artists won't see a penny of it.

Hell, even a tapeworm can't absorb all of the nutrients you take in. These guys are worse than parasites.
2014-03-23 11:42:54 AM
2 votes:

wambu: As annoying and as seemingly unreasonable it is, it's the law


cdn5.business-opportunities.biz
2014-03-23 11:25:12 AM
2 votes:
Rock and pop music grew to great prominence and became the de-facto American musical form in a way that is usually antithetical to art and music flourishing.  A lot of culture comes to the fore in spite of commerce, but rock and roll, and those little 45's that sounded like hell and AM radio and all of the venues that supported it got huge BECAUSE people voted with their wallets.  It became a huge growth industry and it allowed for nice, old fat men in expensive suits to say "yeah, throw money at anybody who needs a haircut.  The kids love this stuff."  The label made money, the publishers made money, the bands made money, the venues made money.

Alles gut.  But you have to understand something.  Nothing in America survives, no religion, no art, no culture, no "movement", unless it moves money around.  Period.  So this was the perfect place for a huge industry to grow up around the kids forking over their lunch money for that new single.  This was implicitly how it worked.

And all in all, it worked well.  It allowed new artists to whang away at whatever their take on the music was and still eat and live indoors.  If you got a label deal, you essentially bumped up to the minors and had a chance to swing for the center field wall.  If you knocked one out of the park, you made it.  But here's WHY you made it.  People bought your records.  When the money flows in ANY given economy, it lifts all boats.  If you don't believe me, look at the pissant excuse for an economy we have now with 90% of the capital sitting comfortably up the asses of 1% of the people in the country.  The money isn't flowing.  It's static.  And unless you're in one of about 700 families clutching it like it was the antidote, you're probably not doing so hot.

And what flipped the off switch on this round robin of artist creates, records, gets paid, label gets paid, signs more artists?   Digital.  Digital, and to ay otherwise is ridiculous, took the money out of the equation because any mook with a torrent client, the P@P sites having been handily dismantled by kiddy fiddlers, can get your CD - the one you and your record label put a lot of money into to create - for free.  Eff Arr Eee Eee.  And that means making recordings is now a hobby.  Which is why that "way cool band that only you and your hippest friends know about" are playing some joint with 30 people in it and selling T-Shirts, CDs and hot sauce for a living.

So, what's left?  Publishing.  If you have songs that people play in bars, you get a performance royalty.  And that's a consolation prize, but it helps pay bills.  Is BMI full of sh*t?  Yeah, essentially.  So's ASCAP and the rest of them.  Are the people who say "OMG I am their biggest fan!" and never laid down 9.99 for the f*cking CD but have 8 copies of it, full of sh*t?  Yeah.  Are bar owners full of sh*t when they say they shouldn't have to oink up a few bucks to pay a few royalties, the stupid amount they are billed for them, not withstandinfg?  Pretty much.

The music isn't new anymore.  The form has arced and peaked.  And you really want to keep rock and roll alive and well, you're gonna have to start voting with your wallets again and BMI is going to have to stop getting blood from a stone.  I ain't holding my breath.
2014-03-23 10:59:30 AM
2 votes:
This is why my DVD copies of Northern Exposure sound nothing like my pirated versions of Northern Exposure and why it took so damned LONG for it to come out on DVD in the first place.
2014-03-23 10:43:45 AM
2 votes:
If they can't calculate the damages, then the suit should be dismissed.

"Your honor, we can't even calculate the damage!"

"Then how do you expect this court to assess damages? Case dismissed."
2014-03-23 10:43:31 AM
2 votes:

capt.hollister: I don't get why some people are upset. If you own a commercial venue that draws a financial benefit from someone else's property, it seems only normal that you should have to pay them a share. It's not even a large share.

A friend of mine who used to own a bistrot had to pay a license because he had the radio on.


So the rights holders got paid by the radio station *and* the bistro *for the same broadcast*. You said it yourself, but you're confused.

Hm?
WGJ
2014-03-23 10:35:00 AM
2 votes:
The real crime here is BMI collecting $944 million and only distributing $814 million to songwriters, composers, and music publishers. And I'm guessing the publishers get most of that money as well.
2014-03-23 10:32:45 AM
2 votes:
I will say it appears that the bar screwed up.

But I think there is a bigger problem. These types of actions have caused a lot of places to stop having live music. That is bad. I think there are too few places where you can see people performing. There should be rules so that musicians, who do not earn the majority of their income from entertaining, can earn an exemption for the bar/venue. Because there is no way a band like in the FTA caused anyone to seek them out.

I can see BMI deserving a cut if the main reason you filled the house was the music. And as a amateur musician I fully see the artists point of view. But when your rules have the effect of reducing the pie for everyone, then there is a problem.
2014-03-23 10:25:00 AM
2 votes:

d23: Secret Agent X23: ryano913: Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?

That's exactly what they do. I know someone who does this--go to the bar for an evening and then file a report on what music was played. The reason this bar got caught is just that they got unlucky enough for BMI to send someone there. I don't know what the basis is for deciding where to send these folks.

For "church" venues at least, there is a recording period every 3 to 4 years where the venue has to file a report about what music they used as well.  Don't know about bars, but it wouldn't surprise me if they have to do something similar as this is how BMI decides how many pennies they are going to pay songwriters.

I suggest everyone reading this thread go read about how much other groups are actually paying songwriters.  This isn't about paying artists, this is just like 99% of everything else in U.S. society right now: it's about corporate greed and that's it.



All of these licensing companies expect bars to pay a fee if they have ANY noise playing in their establishment. Even a radio in the kitchen is subject to their discretion. They will contact bar owners, daily, and remind them that they should be paying dues to make sure they are covered in the event one of the songs licensed by them is played and customers can hear it.

Nights, like this one, where a bar owner isn't paying "dues", and one of these companies just "happens" to be in attendance....well...this is the result.
2014-03-23 10:24:54 AM
2 votes:

TV's Vinnie: To a copyright lawyer, someone somewhere out there singing a song IS the end of their sad f*cking world.


To Al Franken it is. He was placed into the Senate to ensure the entertainment industry is protected. He is why we will lose Net Neutrality too.
2014-03-23 10:23:00 AM
2 votes:

browser_snake: No news here. If you have a bar that has music of any sort, you need to be a BMI member. They are seeking statutory damages, which means there's a standard amount of liability that's awarded so often, it doesn't even need to be documented in the lawsuit paperwork - they just cite the statute.


Not quite music of any sort, we have a local bar that hosts live bands, the rule is no covers, only original compositions so you can imagine how bad some of the music is (though you do get the occasional gem mixed in), regardless they received a demand letter from BMI who claimed to own copyright on several of the songs, they backed down when they found out that the bar kept recordings of every performance and had copies of all the named bands copyright filings on their songs. One semi amusing thing that happened was that a couple of the bands that BMI named in their original demand letter as having played covers of BMI songs filed Slander of Title suits against BMI, never did find out what happened with those
2014-03-23 10:15:25 AM
2 votes:

TheOther: If a baseball fan requests that 'Centerfield' be played at his funeral, will BMI sue the church for not having paid a licensing fee?

Fogerty wrote many fine songs, but if I never heard them again in my lifetime, I can't say I would miss them all that much.


Possibly.  There is a funeral home in my hometown that had allowed its license to expire for a couple months, and there were a few families that were grief-stricken that they weren't able to play "Wind Beneath My Wings" and shiat like that during the period.
2014-03-23 10:14:49 AM
2 votes:
The only people complaining about this lawsuit  are those who have never created anything of value.
2014-03-23 10:14:14 AM
2 votes:

ryano913: Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?


Sort of. In more metropolitan areas they have moles. In the smaller areas they're more complaint-based. Usually, it's competition that sells a rival out to BMI for bands or jukebox music.
2014-03-23 10:11:49 AM
2 votes:
Anyone who owns a business should know you need a license just to perform live music.  And another if you are going to be playing copyrighted songs.  One of the reasons why my bar doesn't have bands anymore.  Costs too much and rarely recuperate costs.  And too risky to get caught without licenses, especially lately in Northeast Ohio where they are trying to shut down every local music venue by exorbitant fees.
2014-03-23 10:07:40 AM
2 votes:
Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?
2014-03-23 10:01:49 AM
2 votes:
Was this the band?

www.naderlibrary.com

//hot-ish
2014-03-24 01:36:38 PM
1 votes:

RY28: MaudlinMutantMollusk: DON'T PLAY FREE BIRD, MAN!

Thats odd . Freebird hasn't been cover band material for at least 20 years now .


It is if the guitar player is drunk enough....
2014-03-23 09:17:41 PM
1 votes:
eh ... here's the thing. and let me preface this with the fact that i've been playing in bands for a good 20 years now (goddamn, i got old) and am a member of BMI (i have writing credits on some of the songs on my my recent band's album), as well are many of my musician cohorts here in LA.

i'm far from a pro musician - pretty sure i make more in a day or two as a software engineer than i have in ALL those 20 years in bands - but some of my friends are. and some of them do quite well licensing their music to shiat like advertising, tv shows, film, etc. organizations like BMI protect these guys from having their work stolen and allow them to make a living doing what they love and what they're good at.

so say ... someone like michael bay is out at some bar in malibu and hears my pal terry rockin out some of his awesome bakersfield-country influenced jams, michael bay likes it, michael bay buys his album and wants to use a song in transformers 15 or whatever. because of an organization like, yeah, BMI, he can't just jack terry's music and use it simply because he's an unknown dude just doing his thing. he'd have to pay to use it. and that's great! that's how it should be. a musician is creating something of value just like anyone else.

they're an organization big enough and powerful enough to represent the small guy. otherwise, it's just some dude against some bazillionaire.

now, you get into areas like this that certainly seem silly on the surface. BUT, it's more of a precedence thing. if you draw a line that says "ok well, this is ok but this isn't" then that line's gonna get moved around until it's completely erased and then what? "oh blahblahblah john fogerty is a rich old rockstar he doesn't need the money!" but it mostly isn't about those guys (who are, in fact, members just like some dork like me is and deserve the same protection) it's about the millions of little guys no one's ever heard of that make their living writing music.

you can't play favorites, you can't make exceptions, you just have to enforce these seemingly stupid rules for the greater good.

tl;dr - it's not as stupid as it seems; the bar should follow the rules and this shiat wouldn't happen
2014-03-23 04:21:05 PM
1 votes:
Why not copyright eggs over easy or a steak medium rare?
2014-03-23 04:02:42 PM
1 votes:
Let's say anyone of you Farkers wants to buy a bar and have live music.

Let's say you want to do everything by the book and pay your dues.

Now try to google anything you can to find the price and who to pay.

Not so easy.
2014-03-23 02:44:03 PM
1 votes:
I wish dick cancer on all of the plaintiffs and their lawyers.
2014-03-23 02:36:23 PM
1 votes:
And for all the Gen X / Y'ers pissing and moaning about "old peope music", if you don't start paying for new music, it's ALL gonna be old people music cause eventually, your music will be "old people music" too.  Ha ha.

/listens to everything
//has to as part of his job
///waiting for the great leap forward
2014-03-23 01:58:04 PM
1 votes:
Yeah, I tend to be more on the "consumer" side of issues such as these- things like downloading for personal use, etc, and there's  huge grey area in copyright law with regards to what is fair use and the like. That being said, the deal with ASCAP/BMI/ and SESAC is very well known, it enables creators to get paid in a way that they have accepted, and it DOES prevent the bands themselves from having to do all the legwork. This bar was certainly offered more than one chance to buy the appropriate license, which tends to cost between $500 and $3000 a year, depending on the venue, how often copyrighted music is played, how big it is, what they charge for, etc. I don't think that's unreasonable, and there's bars and the like claiming that they'd "have to close their doors" if they had to pay the $1000 a year for a license. I'm sorry, but if $1,000 a year ($83.33/ month, $2.78/day) is all that's between your bar and financial destruction, your bar is about to die anyway. Your liquor license costs more. Yes, people are paying for drinks. You know what else? A big reason that they're there, paying for drinks in the first place, is BECAUSE you have a band playing. Pay the farking fee, or shut up when you get sued- AFTER being given chances to pay the damn fee.

On the other hand, the license companies frequently go a bit too far with pursuing venues that don't play music that is covered under the license (local bands playing their own original stuff, etc.) And there's stories (whether totally true or not) where BMI/ ASCAP's "spies" just HAPPENED to be there one night where a band played ONE song that was covered under license without even knowing it and BAM! They get sued. I, for one, doubt this.

The license thing is NOT a little- known deal, the licensing companies typically are reasonable about things, and this band played, on the night in question, an entire repertoire of licensed music. I guarantee you that the other 52 weekends (or however often that bar has a band playing) that they had other stuff played, just that the night in question was the one that BMI had someone in the crowd documenting it. Sorry- I don't feel sorry for that bar at all.
2014-03-23 01:12:50 PM
1 votes:
While I'm no fan of BMI, ASCAP and the rest, the venues can usually negotiate the license fee and it's based on how often you have music, what the seating capacity is, etc.  I once played a coffee house and after the gig, when it was time to get paid, I had to hear a 15 min. rant from the owner about how much music costs him, what with the licensing fees that add up to $1000/year.  I calmly pointed out to him that he has live music twice a week - 100 nights a year and his $1000 only comes to ten bucks a performance.  Never playing there again.
2014-03-23 01:11:36 PM
1 votes:

MFK: This is not the case. The artist will indeed see money from these things.  PROs are not the recording companies. While some of the royalties may indeed go to some of the labels (if for instance your record deal guaranteed the label a certain percentage of publishing royalties) these are mostly songwriting royalties we're talking about here that go to the artist/songwriter.

The PROs are demanding payments on behalf of the musician so they can then turn around and pay them - which they do. This isn't anything at all like the RIAA coming in and suing downloaders on behalf of mega-corporations.

Incidentally, i believe the fee is the same for live or recorded music, so unless your bar/club is bathed in total silence, this is part of the cost of doing business.



It isn't like the RIAA, but it isn't all peaches and cream either. The fee is on a "sliding scale" based upon the type of usage, which most places will be on the high end of.

http://www.bmi.com/forms/licensing/gl/ede.pdf

Just from BMI, that fee could easily hit $10K a year on an average 250 occupant establishment. Now times that by three.

$30K a year just to have music (outside of a jukebox) and be "near 100%" legal about it under any and all contingencies. That is WAY more than the revenue it brought the bar.
2014-03-23 01:07:35 PM
1 votes:
If anybody thinks BMI cares a flying fark about the artist and is doing this for any reason other than to get their fat white management even more money to waste on shiat they don't need, well you're stupid.
2014-03-23 12:58:17 PM
1 votes:

TurnerBrown: Don't lots of songwriters give up a lot of their royalty rights in order to get the exposure to make it big? Kind of like advertising costs.


If you can get anything like a band and a catalogue of songs together to the point where a label believes it will turn a profit to advance the recording cost, distribution and promotion, you got some good songs and a good band because getting people to pay for that product when it's free after the first torrent rip is a difficult thing to do.  As such, every deal is different.  This is why lawyers have snazzy German cars.
2014-03-23 12:49:35 PM
1 votes:

d23: Secret Agent X23: ryano913: Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?

That's exactly what they do. I know someone who does this--go to the bar for an evening and then file a report on what music was played. The reason this bar got caught is just that they got unlucky enough for BMI to send someone there. I don't know what the basis is for deciding where to send these folks.

For "church" venues at least, there is a recording period every 3 to 4 years where the venue has to file a report about what music they used as well.  Don't know about bars, but it wouldn't surprise me if they have to do something similar as this is how BMI decides how many pennies they are going to pay songwriters.

I suggest everyone reading this thread go read about how much other groups are actually paying songwriters.  This isn't about paying artists, this is just like 99% of everything else in U.S. society right now: it's about corporate greed and that's it.


Yeah for the first art. The exemption is for worship services. And they still need to have print licenses for printing the words. There are licenses for churches that cover non worship service events.

I don't know about the second part. My wife does not make much, but she has never had big exposure either. Don't lots of songwriters give up a lot of their royalty rights in order to get the exposure to make it big? Kind of like advertising costs.
2014-03-23 12:47:10 PM
1 votes:

Valiente: Given my age, if I'm lucky, I'll have ten to fifteen years of listening to the hits of 1980 after the last monstrously self-regarding boomer is drooling into his or her Depends.


Yeah, the boomers.  How about you put a band together and blow all those old, stupid old people old songs off the radio.  S'easy.
2014-03-23 12:45:06 PM
1 votes:

Relatively Obscure: I wish it actually did do great and incalculable damage.


I tire of classic rawk, too. Given my age, if I'm lucky, I'll have ten to fifteen years of listening to the hits of 1980 after the last monstrously self-regarding boomer is drooling into his or her Depends.
2014-03-23 12:28:29 PM
1 votes:

ChrisDe: Wouldn't it become a benchmark that sets precedence in that there was damage, and the value of that damage is zero? Every case after that would point to no damages being awarded.


No, I want every court in America to bankrupt BMI and groups like them. Sue the little guy? Lose money.
2014-03-23 12:25:41 PM
1 votes:
Here's a simple test we should use in cases like this:Could anyone reasonably believe that this band was the original author or performer of any of this music?No?Then they could not possibly cause any harm to the original authors/performers/copyright holders.
2014-03-23 12:17:26 PM
1 votes:

stuffy: Of course the people who wrote/sang those song will never see a dime.


Again, actually, they do.  Dime is apt, but.. dimes none the less.
2014-03-23 12:15:20 PM
1 votes:
Of course the people who wrote/sang those song will never see a dime.
2014-03-23 12:06:34 PM
1 votes:
I write music.  None of it will ever be played in bars or on the radio (because I write barbershop quartet music for barbershoppers. It's aca-awesome, but that's not relevant.).  So, if I write a bunch of stuff and submit it to BMI, it's their job to hunt around looking for people playing my music in bars to see if they owe me money?  Sounds like a waste of time and resources, to me.
2014-03-23 12:05:59 PM
1 votes:

UndeadPoetsSociety: the songs they were playing were mostly written by people who died before there ever was such a damn thing as the BMI.


Which is why there are publishing houses sucking up every song thay can get their hands on and assigning it to their song base.  See "Happy Birthday To You."  Everybody is harvesting, nobody is planting.
2014-03-23 11:55:02 AM
1 votes:

uncoveror: No one even considers that popular music is neither science nor useful arts, but frivolous entertainment. It is also not a discovery, and only sheet music constitutes a writing. Locking up ideas as property is ultimately no less a form of censorship than trying to suppress them.


And any attorney who could find his ass with both hands would handily argue that into the dirt in about 3 minutes.  This gray area is the very gist of the law as an arguable construct.
2014-03-23 11:52:53 AM
1 votes:

blair1: You may not realize that those three agencies are the only ones that pay the songwriters anything


Define "anything"?
2014-03-23 11:51:26 AM
1 votes:

MFK: The licensing fee, which this bar seems to have not paid, is relatively inexpensive and covers your ass against shiat like this. the Performing Rights Orgs like BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are how musicians get royalties for the use of their music. This particular bar seems to think that he shouldn't have to pay for having music in his establishment and is basically stealing it.  You can't go into a record store and say "I want to have that album by the Rolling Stones playing in my house" and just walk out the door with it without paying. It's kind of the same thing here. Most establishments that feature music aren't ignorant dickbags and pay the couple hundred bucks a year that allows them license to do whatever they want, but every now and again, you get a guy like this owner who thinks he shouldn't have to pay for the entertainment/atmosphere he offers his clientele so the PROs have to make a big stink about it and take him to court in order to make an example so others don't do the same thing.


Often the problem to a bar owner isn't the paying of a fee. It's paying  three or more fees. You have three major companies, all attempting to collect the same money. A bar owner has little control over what might be played over airwaves (unless he has something like the Sirius box mentioned). You generally aren't fully "Legal" unless you are paying all three, covering all the songs any of them may license.

//Correction to previous post "SESAC"
///Always forget the acronym on that one
2014-03-23 11:43:39 AM
1 votes:

MFK: Stoker: Farking parasites.

yeah, the musicians who spent all the time and money crafting, recording and distributing the music you want to hear when you go out to the bar are farking parasites for demanding compensation from people who use their work in their commercial endeavors.


I am fairly certain that the actual artists themselves earn either zero or very little of any licensing fee for public performances. This is pretty much all the publisher. I don't see the harm, really. Most of the bands in question did exactly the same thing, and I guarantee you paid $0 in licensing fees. The bigger problem is that cover and tribute bands are boring and unoriginal. Even if you cover the song well, it's a bad copy on the best of days. Yeah, you got that guitar solo, but hearing Jimmy Page improvise in his own concerts is something these bands can never do. I get copyrights. I just think they are retarded in how they are implemented.

So should we just cover dead people? No one is alive from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But I bet that if there was a cover band in the subject bar, they would ask for money just the same.
2014-03-23 11:41:45 AM
1 votes:

dletter: Lokkii: The only people complaining about this lawsuit  are those who have never created anything of value.

If a good deal of this money trying to be recouped were going to the original artists, or original song writers, then people would be "OK, that's cool".

Since I believe most of it just goes to bloat BMI, that is why people complain and don't have sympathy.


People would probably have more sympathy if they had a choice in the matter.  Kinda like some form of competition in the business, rather than just "pay these guys, and whatever happens, happens."

Like when Chik-fil-A went all anti-gay-derpy, I had the choice to say, "That's fine, Popeyes is good enough for me".  And when Wal-Mart pays their floor employees shiat and treats them like shiat, I have the choice to say, "That's fine, the Target a mile over is cleaner and their young cashiers are hotter and don't look like they have scurvy."

I know sometimes it gets into an oligopolist situation, but those are always vulnerable to one member deciding that it's time to screw over the rest.  And they all know it.

Currently, the music license situation, thanks to (effectively) perpetual copyright, is a nicely bundled monopoly that nobody can vote against except by forgoing that form of entertainment.  That's the point at which it ceases to serve the public good.

The rules should be re-evaluated, re-built, and the Mouse should butt the fark out while they do that.
2014-03-23 11:29:20 AM
1 votes:
The cover band is not responsible for the license fees: the venue is. This is pretty common knowledge and I'm guessing that 69 Taps has been being a jerk about paying the licensing fee.

As annoying and as seemingly unreasonable it is, it's the law. Don't want to pay the fee" don't play the music.

I used to have a place where I was the only musician to perform (cocktail piano) and, yes, I had to pay the licensing fee. The BMI rep wasn't a jerk about it; it was just business. No threats.

I also had this conversation a few times:

"How much do you get paid to play here?"
"Not very much [grin], why?"
"If you join the union, we can make the scumbag owner pay you more."
"Probably not. I'm also the scumbag owner. Any other benefits to union membership?"
"Oh, forget it."
2014-03-23 11:26:05 AM
1 votes:

FlashHarry: WGJ: The real crime here is BMI collecting $944 million and only distributing $814 million to songwriters, composers, and music publishers. And I'm guessing the publishers get most of that money as well.

In many cases, the songwriter IS the publisher. And as far as the money is concerned, BMI administers songwriting royalties for thousands of artists all around the world, calculating usage and distributing payment. And they don't charge the artists a penny for it up front. So I for one have no problem with them taking some off the top for administrative expenses.

/BMI songwriter since 1991


Write anything we'd know?
MFK
2014-03-23 11:23:52 AM
1 votes:

Stoker: Farking parasites.


yeah, the musicians who spent all the time and money crafting, recording and distributing the music you want to hear when you go out to the bar are farking parasites for demanding compensation from people who use their work in their commercial endeavors.
MFK
2014-03-23 11:17:40 AM
1 votes:
The licensing fee, which this bar seems to have not paid, is relatively inexpensive and covers your ass against shiat like this. the Performing Rights Orgs like BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are how musicians get royalties for the use of their music. This particular bar seems to think that he shouldn't have to pay for having music in his establishment and is basically stealing it.  You can't go into a record store and say "I want to have that album by the Rolling Stones playing in my house" and just walk out the door with it without paying. It's kind of the same thing here. Most establishments that feature music aren't ignorant dickbags and pay the couple hundred bucks a year that allows them license to do whatever they want, but every now and again, you get a guy like this owner who thinks he shouldn't have to pay for the entertainment/atmosphere he offers his clientele so the PROs have to make a big stink about it and take him to court in order to make an example so others don't do the same thing.
2014-03-23 11:15:24 AM
1 votes:

unitednihilists: They had it coming, any band who plays "talk dirty to me' by Poison. Should be sent to Gitmo or somewhere equally heinous.


Exactly. The bar should just argue the band was was just doing a parody by making fun of all these cheesy old played out songs and the aging rockers that composed them. Bonus if the lead singer is bald and wears a bandana on his head.
2014-03-23 11:09:31 AM
1 votes:
This is why you don't see shiatty little cover bands in every bar on Friday night anymore.  And I miss that.
2014-03-23 11:04:25 AM
1 votes:
The judge should award them incalculable damages. Perhaps a shrubbery.
2014-03-23 10:59:11 AM
1 votes:

doglover: Mirandized: If they can't calculate the damages, then the suit should be dismissed.

"Your honor, we can't even calculate the damage!"

"Then how do you expect this court to assess damages? Case dismissed."

No, you set policy.

"Incalculable" means $0.00 and the case becomes a benchmark.


I like that even better. I don't believe BMI and the others add anything of value to the product, and they are the cause of copyrights becoming almost perpetual. At some point the public is best served by the copyright expiring.
2014-03-23 10:57:06 AM
1 votes:

italie: BMI, ASCAP, SECAM....can all go to hell. The tactics they use are nothing short of old-school mafia "protection" scams.


I have dealt with all three, buy a license from any of them and want to cancel it. fark no, you have to show proof that you either A.Went out of business and will no longer play any music, B.Provide a PLaylist of songs you will be playing so they can make sure your in compliance and not playing any of their covered songs, C. Provide the contract for the other Licensing company your going to be using. If you cant do 1 of these 3 they tell you to fark off and keep giving me all your money.
2014-03-23 10:54:35 AM
1 votes:
Justin Beiber was singing songs on YouTube.   Sue him.  He has lots of money
2014-03-23 10:47:20 AM
1 votes:

WGJ: The real crime here is BMI collecting $944 million and only distributing $814 million to songwriters, composers, and music publishers. And I'm guessing the publishers get most of that money as well.


In many cases, the songwriter IS the publisher. And as far as the money is concerned, BMI administers songwriting royalties for thousands of artists all around the world, calculating usage and distributing payment. And they don't charge the artists a penny for it up front. So I for one have no problem with them taking some off the top for administrative expenses.

/BMI songwriter since 1991
2014-03-23 10:38:13 AM
1 votes:
My town (Hoboken, NJ) has the most bars of any similarly-sized town in the country and most of them don't have live music anymore. It's a shame. Am thinking that this silliness might have something to do with it.
2014-03-23 10:37:29 AM
1 votes:
I don't get why some people are upset. If you own a commercial venue that draws a financial benefit from someone else's property, it seems only normal that you should have to pay them a share. It's not even a large share.

A friend of mine who used to own a bistrot had to pay a license because he had the radio on.
2014-03-23 10:36:16 AM
1 votes:

edmo: Do they have a sales tax license? Liquor? Business? Do they steal ESPN?


Does the Alcoholic Beverage Commission demand a fee per drink, over and above the original license fee, if the bar is very successful?  If patrons drink more, does the ABC get more?  Same with the business license.

Make it a flat fee, and the licensing agencies (BMI, etc.) should be non-profits!  Why should BMI get $130M in profit?  Shouldn't that money go to the songwriters????
2014-03-23 10:31:07 AM
1 votes:

ryano913: Does BMI have a network of undercover moles in every bar? How do they know this happened? Any proof?


Yes.  Not in every bar of course, but they make rounds.  We have a haunted house ride we run at Halloween in Oxford, AL, and in the queue area we have a stereo playing songs like Monster Mash and Thriller and what not.  There was a dude that showed up and started writing stuff down in a notebook and acting weird and out of place.  After a little while, he went back to his car and started calling people.  A few days later the BMI thing showed up in the mail.  It was fairly benign, mostly just asking us to either cease playing BMI music, or buy a license, which was a few hundred dollars.
2014-03-23 10:29:58 AM
1 votes:

edibobb: That makes me want to go download some tunes.


Yup, makes me want to go through my music collection and torrent all the BMI stuff.
2014-03-23 10:25:31 AM
1 votes:
Something that could easily be avoided by not playing any of that stupid music. Or either, pay, play something original or do without any music.
2014-03-23 10:22:00 AM
1 votes:
I've been playing in cover bands for most of my adult life. I've played the Bitter End, Maxwell's etc... but mostly I play in dive bars in Northern NJ/NYC. Am I understanding this correctly that those little corner bars have to pay a fee to BMI?
2014-03-23 10:16:56 AM
1 votes:

TheOther: If a baseball fan requests that 'Centerfield' be played at his funeral, will BMI sue the church for not having paid a licensing fee?

Fogerty wrote many fine songs, but if I never heard them again in my lifetime, I can't say I would miss them all that much.


There is an exemption for churches. In the law.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/United_States_Code/Title_17/Chapter_1/ Se ction_110 

/this hasn't stopped BMI from harassing them, though.
2014-03-23 10:11:07 AM
1 votes:

Ennuipoet: Was it these guys?


I love those guys. I mean they got up there and did it LIVE!
2014-03-23 10:10:21 AM
1 votes:
Sounds like the folks running the bar took a risk and lost. I'm not going to feel sorry for them, regardless of how I feel about "big music".
2014-03-23 10:06:44 AM
1 votes:
Incalculable dammage?

Okay, the defendants now owe you $0.00 USD now and forever and all those you may sue in the future can look to this judgement and owe you the same.

Ta da.
2014-03-23 10:01:45 AM
1 votes:
Don't judge a book just by the cover
Unless you cover just another
And blind acceptance is a sign
Of stupid fools who stand in line
Like EBMI, EBMI, EBMI...
2014-03-23 09:57:49 AM
1 votes:
But not so incalculable as to be beyond the ability of lawyers to determine a hard figure.
2014-03-23 09:53:23 AM
1 votes:
No news here. If you have a bar that has music of any sort, you need to be a BMI member. They are seeking statutory damages, which means there's a standard amount of liability that's awarded so often, it doesn't even need to be documented in the lawsuit paperwork - they just cite the statute.
2014-03-23 09:51:26 AM
1 votes:

mutterfark: Were they using 'Fat Strats' for a heavy sound?


I was trying to think of a BMI joke and I think you nailed it, maybe.

/interesting to see one of Cleveland's free newspapers get a FARK link
/yes, we have free newspapers.  we rule.
/ironically, they did actually play free bird
2014-03-23 08:58:48 AM
1 votes:
2014-03-23 08:56:22 AM
1 votes:
DON'T PLAY FREE BIRD, MAN!
 
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