Intellectual Property and Copyright Lawsuits Silence Small Venue

The owner of Luke’s Lounge, a small bar and long-time music venue in downtown Dixon, was informed late last year that he could not have live music in his bar unless he payed exorbitant licensing fees to the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). Here is part of a local article on the matter:

The bar no longer hosts live performances because of the cost of license fees that The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) demands for live performances.  It’s a fee that Luke’s Lounge owner Nate Luke said he is no longer willing to pay.

ASCAP is an organization that represents 400,000 or more U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music, according to its web site.

ASCAP said it protects its members through licensing and collecting royalties for public performances of their work. Known among musicians as “the collection society,” ASCAP also said it makes giving and obtaining permission to perform music “simple for both creators and users of music.”

Risk of IP lawsuits are a major concern for unlicensed music venues. I believe that IP and copyright laws need to be changed to make it less risky for smaller music venues so that the form of legal extortion can be stopped. This is literally a “pay to play” situation.  Read the whole story here.

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