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ASCAP problems

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Warwickthumb, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. OK guys I hope this is the right place for this. I have a friend who manages a bar here. ASCAP came in and has threatened to slap a $25,000 fine on them because they have a juke box, and there are bands that play cover tunes there as well. As far as I know this is not a bar thats known for only having cover bands there. It just happens that way sometimes. So whats ASCAPs problem? They said thier artists are lossing money. I tried to offer some advise, but i dont know a whole lot about ascap. Anyone willing to lend some advice?
  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    do they have a juke box?
  3. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    What, you have to pay ASCAP if you run a jukebox in your establishment? Wow.

    Do you have to pay ASCAP if you run karaoke night too?

    Enquiring minds want to know.
  4. Yes NJL, they do have a juke box. I'm sorry I forgot to add that. ASCAP says thier artist are losing money becasue there are bands that play there that play cover toons.
  5. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat

    Print this off for your manager friend.



  6. Yeah...bars and other venues that perform live music are supposed to pay a fee to ASCAP that covers the licensing of cover material being performed there. I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that there was another big group as well...
  7. A famous club here in Nashville just got sued for big bucks for "forgetting" to pay ASCAP. Oh, they "forgot" for four or five years straight, apparently, despite being reminded.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes, ASCAP is getting more aggressive, as is the recording industry in general. Some of that is okay, but that seems like a huge fine for a few measly records and a couple of cover bands. I suspect that there's just a moron executive somewhere, that decided there was low-hanging fruit there, and an opportunity in that area. The problem is, that these guys know very little about technology, in general. They've tried so many times to "copy protect" their recordings and so on, but at the end of the day, they're missing the point. Exposure is a good thing, right? The new Napster concept is probably a step in the right direction. You can download as many songs as you want, for fifteen bucks a month. Shoot, I spent more than that on Deep Purple records (of all kinds, bootlegs and whatnot), when I was a kid. :D
  9. Thanks daftcat, Ill pass that on to him. Ill let ya guys know the outcome when i find out. ITs in court right now as far as I know.
  10. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    No prob. I would be interested in the outcome of this for sure.

  11. As long as I've been a musician, ASCAP and BMI have been out there enforcing for their artists. As one who has collected several thousand dollars in my lifetime from BMI, I appreciate their efforts. The authors of the music deserve performance royalties for the use of their music. Without the songs, there's no party! The bar's atmosphere wouldn't be the same without it. BMI and ASCAP collect money for guys in local bands who have gotten their songs on the radio too remember. I was co-writer of a song that was on the radio in about 5-10 markets in the early '90s and I got a bunch of fat checks from BMI. Bar owners need to recognize it as a cost of doing business.
  12. ::update:: Well they settled out of court I guess. Thats how it goes in the music biz.
  13. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    Like it or not, if songs are played in a bar, the bar is legally obligated to pay the songwriter and publisher. Almost all are represented by BMI and ASCAP, and the biggest part of these orgaizations' cut goes to making sure the bar (and radio stations, etc.) pony up. Most establishments pay up after their lawyers have explained the facts of life to them.
  14. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    Mr. Rogers:

    You may want to take a look at the "Fairness In Music Licensing Act of 1998". Stores, restaurants and bars scored a victory in their fight to eliminate their need to have public performance licenses in order to play radio or television receivers for their customers' enjoyment. They persuaded Congress to enact the "Fairness In Music Licensing Act of 1998," and as a result, many of them will no longer need such licenses.

    Prior to the new Act, section 110(5) of the Copyright Act provided that licenses were not necessary for public performances using "a single receiving apparatus of a kind commonly used in private homes." This came to be known as the "home style receiver exemption." While the language of section 110(5) seemed ordinary enough, its application to specific circumstances gave rise to hotly contested lawsuits, especially between restaurants and bars on the one hand, and ASCAP and BMI on the other.

    The Act does, among other things, the following:

    1. It substantially revises section 110(5) so that the size of the establishment, rather than the type of receiver it uses, is what matters for deciding whether the exemption applies.

    2. It allows copyright owners to recover enhanced damages from establishments that assert unsuccessful section 110(5) exemption defenses without a reasonable basis for doing so.

    3. It provides an entirely new procedure for determining ASCAP license fees that must be paid for non-exempt music performances.

    4. It makes plain that the new Act does not replace or supersede state or local laws concerning the operations of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

    For example, the Act permits stores that are smaller than 2000 square feet to play radio and television broadcasts and cable and satellite transmissions, without a public performance license, regardless of the type of receiver or number of loudspeakers the store may use. Restaurants and bars that are smaller than 3750 square feet have been given the same exemption. Stores that are larger than 2000 square feet, and restaurants and bars that are larger than 3750 square feet, are exempt too, so long as they use fewer than a specified number of loudspeakers and television sets.

    There is obviously a lot more to the Act and I may not have everything exactly right, but I think the foregoing is close enough for this discussion.

  15. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    I was doing a weekly house band gig at an upscale restaurant about 4 years ago, and this guy comes in early and starts bugging me while I was setting up. He's asking me all these weird questions and wanted to see our song list, my name, address and all this stuff. He tried to pass himself off as some sort of booking agent or talent scout. The gig starts and this guy is sitting right in front of the band feverishly taking notes...I figured he was up to no good, so at the first break, I spoke to the 2 bouncers who escorted him out to the parking lot to try to find out who he was and what he was doing. Turned out he was from BMI. The bouncer got a business card off of him and gave it to me. I still have it around somewhere...We played another 30 gigs or so there. I never saw him again.