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Old 07-29-2007, 10:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"Detroit Free Press

Play originals or pay royalties, music companies say

July 23, 2007

BY JOHN A. TORRES

FLORIDA TODAY

Laurie and Jim Hall decided to offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights to entertain the customers at their gourmet coffee shop in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.

But a few months later, music industry giant ASCAP started calling and sending letters saying East Coast Coffee & Tea was in violation of copyright laws. The fee to continue the music was $400 a year.

Six months later, other music copyright companies began calling the Halls and demanding money.

Finally, unable to afford the fees, Laurie Hall had to call her musicians who did not play original songs and tell them they could not continue performing.

Music copyright companies are on a campaign to collect royalty fees from restaurants, bars and other establishments that offer live music by performers who play songs written and made famous by other musicians.

The aggressive - but legal - posture the music companies are taking has the potential to unplug live music in many venues.

It comes on the heels of a massive music industry crackdown in the past several years on illegal downloads from the Internet. Whether it’s a professional recording taken from a Web site or an accordion player singing a Jimmy Buffet tune in a small venue, the industry is working to collect royalties for whoever wrote the songs.

When a songwriter signs with one of the licensing companies - the country’s three biggest are BMI, SESAC and ASCAP - his or her music is copyrighted.

“It makes me so angry,” Hall says. “I feel like the greedy music industry is extorting money from us and hurting these musicians just starting out.”

SESAC spokesman Shawn Williams said in e-mail responses to questions that it is his company’s responsibility to enforce copyright laws, many of which were enacted nearly a century ago.

Williams defends the money collected.

“This provides the majority of income to songwriters,” he says.

Those who refuse to pay could find themselves paying anyway - in the form of fines.

“The law provides damages ranging from $750 to $150,000 for each song performed without proper authorization,” Williams says.

And in no way do the songs have to be performed live, or even on the radio, to elicit calls for royalties.

Lou Andrus, owner of the popular beachside nightclub Lou’s Blues in Indialantic, Fla., says a friend who owned a restaurant that did not feature music was contacted by a company looking to charge him because it owned the rights to a Hank Williams Jr. song, “Are You Ready for Some Football?” The song preceded every “Monday Night Football” telecast, which the restaurant carried on its televisions.

He says his friend simply chose to turn the volume down when the song came on.

The licensing companies use a variety of methods to find out whether copyrighted music is being used.

“ASCAP representatives may visit establishments and find that they advertise live entertainment,” said Richard Reimer, senior vice president of ASCAP, in an e-mail. “Local newspapers carry advertisements for venues that present live entertainment and, of course, the Internet is a valuable resource as well.”

Chad Fagg, one half of the pop-rock duo “Just Blue,” is without a steady place to perform after East Coast Coffee told his group they could no longer play unless they played only original music.

“It’s very disappointing, and it’s frustrating,” Fagg says. “They gave us a shot before anyone else would. I understand it’s about royalties, but it’s such a small place.”

Copyright © 2007 Detroit Free Press Inc.


Detroit Free Press - www.freep.com - Play originals or pay royalties, music companies say
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Ive seen you on muiltipul forums saying Metallica and slayer are the worst **** you kid go suck your **** while you listen to your ****ing emo **** I bet you do listen to emo music
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmmmm..... It's going a bit far in my opinion. But who decides where the line is?
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hasn't this always been the case?

I know one venue in SLC where bands can't play covers because they don't pay royalties to ASCAP/BMI/etc, so I was under the impression that almost all venues already pay royalties.

But saying that “This provides the majority of income to songwriters” is total bull****. Well, I guess it probably does for one hit wonder bands from the 80's.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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$400 per year is likely a great investment in their business. It's $1.10 per day. If performance of cover tunes causes customers to come in or 'hang-out' longer, how many coffees, teas, or muffins do you suppose they'll have to sell before they recoup that $1.10 investment and then reap the rewards of more sales?

Even if the other two performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC are the only ones, NOT the "three biggest") are paid the same amount, it's a total of $1200 for the entire year, equaling roughly $3.30 per day.

The article quotes the gourmet coffee shop owner as saying, "It makes me so angry"... "I feel like the greedy music industry..."

GREEDY?? Really? For wanting to be paid for use of a product?

Next time I travel through Florida I'll have to swing by their coffee shop, drink a cup of coffee, tea, or eat a muffin, then walk out without paying. Surely the GREEDY owners of the product won't expect me to pay for it.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRV View Post
$400 per year is likely a great investment in their business. It's $1.10 per day. If performance of cover tunes causes customers to come in or 'hang-out' longer, how many coffees, teas, or muffins do you suppose they'll have to sell before they recoup that $1.10 investment and then reap the rewards of more sales?

Even if the other two performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC are the only ones, NOT the "three biggest") are paid the same amount, it's a total of $1200 for the entire year, equaling roughly $3.30 per day.

The article quotes the gourmet coffee shop owner as saying, "It makes me so angry"... "I feel like the greedy music industry..."

GREEDY?? Really? For wanting to be paid for use of a product?

Next time I travel through Florida I'll have to swing by their coffee shop, drink a cup of coffee, tea, or eat a muffin, then walk out without paying. Surely the GREEDY owners of the product won't expect me to pay for it.
What utter rubbish.

Could you imagine the state of the world if the publishing industry took the same example with books? Imagine schools having to pay money out to quote books , imagine libraries being closed down because of illegal sharing of free books.

The music industry is full of crooks & opportunists and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Alexander the Grape View Post
Hasn't this always been the case?

I know one venue in SLC where bands can't play covers because they don't pay royalties to ASCAP/BMI/etc, so I was under the impression that almost all venues already pay royalties.

But saying that “This provides the majority of income to songwriters” is total bull****. Well, I guess it probably does for one hit wonder bands from the 80's.
Not in the majority of the history of music.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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All I have to say is:

"One of the wonders of the world is going down
It's going down I know
It's one of the blunders of the world that no-one cares
No-one cares enough"

- The Sound of Muzak by Porcupine Tree
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Inuzuka Skysword View Post
All I have to say is:

"One of the wonders of the world is going down
It's going down I know
It's one of the blunders of the world that no-one cares
No-one cares enough"

- The Sound of Muzak by Porcupine Tree
That'll be £5 please

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Old 08-01-2007, 01:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That'll be £5 please

nobody takes my money.
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