NEW YORK, NY - The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced yesterday that it has filed multiple infringement actions against nightclubs, bars and restaurants in several states across the nation.
In each of the cases filed today, the business or establishment has publicly performed the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP's songwriter, composer and music publisher members without obtaining a license from ASCAP to do so. These establishments then refused to acquire a license and continued to perform ASCAP members' music without permission, resulting in the filing of the infringement actions.
ASCAP manages the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. Those licensed by ASCAP include any establishment or business that wants to perform copyrighted music publicly. Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully, through acceptance of a license covering the use of the more than 8.5 million copyrighted songs and compositions in the ASCAP repertory.
Nearly 90% of the license fees ASCAP collects are paid as royalties directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers. The balance covers ASCAP's operating costs, which are among the lowest of any performance rights organization in the world.
"ASCAP only takes legal action as a last resort — after several attempts to provide the necessary permission have failed," added Candilora. "Like a liquor license, establishments require a license to play copyrighted music. This is a basic cost of business recognized in hundreds of thousands of venues across the country. By filing these cases today, we hope to raise awareness among music users and the public that it is a Federal offense to perform copyrighted music without permission."
Frequently Asked Questions about licensing can be found on ASCAP's website at www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.html.