Saturday, August 29, 2015

Freelons sued for copyright violations

BMI and several copyright owners sued Freelon Restaurant Grill & Bar in U.S. District Court on August 4 for copyright infringement.  The plaintiffs claim Freelon's allowed the public performance of several songs without permission or license to do so from either BMI or the copyright owners.  The complaint and schedule of alleged offenses is posted below.


Anonymous said...

Somebody help - a bar played some music and is now being sued?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Commercial establishments that use recorded or live music are supposed to PAY for the privilege of using music that belongs to somebody else.

Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to the Cherokee...the baND played Johnny cash and the restaurant got sued. Complete bs

Anonymous said...

Copyright law is so stupid. Wish it was repealed by Congress.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday ur sued!

Happy Birthday ur sued!

Happy Birthday ur sued!

Happy Birthday ur sued!

Cafe International Shuts Down Open Mic Night After Threats Over Music Rights [Updated]

According to a tip from Hoodline reader Joe M., Cafe International (508 Haight St.) was recently threatened with a lawsuit by music rights management company BMI after a performer at an open mic night sang “Happy Birthday” to a friend.

This was far from an isolated incident, as it turns out. “They’ve been bugging us and bugging us, it’s become a nightmare,” Cafe International owner Zahra Saleh told Hoodline.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:25 PM

One of the more stupid comments I've read. Songwriters are paid royalties for their work, they are not paid by the hour, nor are they salaried employees. Take away copyright laws, they receive nothing.

It's really not that hard for businesses to adhere to the law.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of when Garth Brooks wanted royalties off of his used CDs sold in pawn shops.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what happened to the Cherokee. Well, it was the final nail anyway. They sent undercover "agents" in to listen to the band and then filed suit for every song they played. Total crap.

Anonymous said...

Well, if that's true, Shucker's is in deep shit. They have two bands playing cover songs all weekend. Inside and outside.

Ima Sanger said...

Hell, I remember forty-five years ago when our office had a sound system and an old machine in the back that played loop-music through speakers in the building. We had to write an annual check to some outfit for the rights to play the music. I think the same was true when we converted to a stereo system using a local radio station for the music we piped through the office, but we ignored it after that.

Anonymous said...

It seems like this happens in waves. A few years ago, they were basically shaking down every bar in town. Copyright is one thing, but suing over open mics and covers is ludicrous. Most venues don't have the money to fight it, so they just pay.

It's not like the artists are selling CDs or digital downloads of the copyrighted materials.

Kingfish, will you weigh in on past instances of this?

Anonymous said...

intellectual property rights are valuable. playing music to promote your own profits without paying for it is stealing. would it be proper for McDonalds to steal hamburger meat from Kroger to make the quarter pounders they sell you? of course not. the license fees are not outrageous. it is just another cost of doing business. many of you are ignorant in your statements.

pjm said...

7:24 makes a point, it's a cost of doing business. i understand the logic behind it as artists should be paid for their work but the money goes to ASCAP and then what? i'm certain whoever's left alive from Lynyrd Skynyrd just waits by the mail box for that fat check after most bars in the southeast honored the usual request of Freebird and Sweet Home Alabama. According to the ASCAP website it's roughly $250 a month for a license for a place with an occupancy rate of 200. Gary Rossington your check for .84 should be coming soon. Take that paper and go to Sizzler.

Anonymous said...

Just remember when you defend the BMI, this is the same group that sued some kid's grandmother for thousands because the kid downloaded songs and shared them illegally...on her computer.

Screw them. May they die a thousand painful deaths in the intestines of a sand worm.

Anonymous said...

And I thought the reason they played/performed that lame, obnoxious old Seventies garbage was because it had passed into the public domain.

So who runs around checking on these things, anyway? If there are bars and restaurants in Pelahatchie and Itta Bena, is there someone checking on THOSE? If Happy Birthday is still copyrighted, is there ANYTHING that isn't?

So, the blaring radio at the gym is subject to this, too? Maybe I should report it? Maybe that will get it turned OFF?

Anonymous said...

radios are okay. satellite radio is okay. Playing live / or taped isn't. At least without juicing the wheels of the people that only give 1% to the artists.

What isn't protected? Classical.

/happy birthday was plagiarized by the Hill sisters. The melody was "Good Morning to All". That HB was copyrighted is why so many restaurants sing other birthday tunes rather than theirs when coming out of the kitchen clapping and whooping it up.

Anonymous said...

If the artist saw 1%, it would be a miracle.

a Mechanical licence, what you're supposed to have for cover songs, used to go more to the artists from companies like the Harry Fox Agency. But that cut has gotten exponentially smaller over the past decade due to fees paid to intermediaries and the labels taking more and more massive chunks.

The licence money for playing recorded music won't ever get to the artist. At least not the ones BMI is suing for.

I've been in the recording industry for 20 years. It's a racket, plain and simple. If the labels, lawyers, and other leaches would get out of the way, musicians could make a good living without having to sell their soul.

Anonymous said...

Every venue does it. Its just freelon has a bigger name. Sounds like ol Harvey has pissed soneone off any they are finding a away to get even.. thats also business.

Anonymous said...

10:08 I don't think playing a radio station throughout a restaurant is OK. I think that is why owners pay to subscribe to Muzak and similar services.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to leave this right here, which might help explain the nuances of music copyright law.

Anonymous said...

It should also be noted there were MANY steps where the bar could have complied before being hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit. Someone who probably does not understand how copyright law works with music probably told them to ignore the previous letters about putting licensing in place.

Anonymous said...

MS is an easy target when the Attorney General is in the pocket of the MPAA

Anonymous said...

So what is the bottom line here for restaurants? If they pay a band to come in for live music, should they have the band sign an indemnity agreement saying that they are liable for any copyright violations?

If the restaurant could make it so that the band is liable, then BMI would go away rather try to get money out of broke performers.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me they're just trying to go where they can get a little money. I would think the band will be responsible if they're the one playing the music. Just money hungry lawyers so it is

Micah S. said...

While I don't like that this establishment is being hit, I do hope that the situation makes it clear to other restaurants and venues that they're misunderstanding their use of music. I play in a band that only does original music, and we've been turned down for saying that we generally don't play covers - not in a rude way, just that I enjoy playing the music I write. But most venues that have a cover band play for five hours don't adhere to the copyright laws. I understand wanting the band to play what people want to hear, but I also understand that, if your establishment is gaining money from it, that becomes a product. And a product costs you money to sell. If anything, there's a greater value in bringing in original music, though.

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