Nightclubs accused of violating copyright law

Many people in New York can't imagine a night out without music. When that music is played in a public building, such as a bar or a nightclub, it is important that the establishment has obtained the proper licensing to play it. All too often, businesses make the choice to play music they have no right to play, which can end up hurting the artists who created it and deserve to profit from it. Copyright law can help protect these artists from unauthorized use of their music. Several nightclubs are facing a lawsuit for alleged misuse of copyrighted music.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers recently filed suit against 15 different bars and restaurants for what it alleges are multiple instances of copyright infringement. One of the clubs had a licensing agreement from May 2009 until April 2018, when it allegedly stopped paying the necessary fees. ASCAP claims it tried to reach out to the nightclub, but that it did not receive the proper response.

ASCAP named three different popular songs in its suit. While it encourages businesses to use the music it licenses, it also wants to protect artists. Its fees are based on several factors, including how often the songs are played and the occupancy of the establishment. ASCAP hopes that the businesses will settle these suits and avoid going to trial, though it is prepared to do so if necessary.

No matter the circumstances or the medium, artists should be properly compensated for the use of the work that they create. Those who illegally use an artist's creative work are infringing upon that artist's livelihood. Any artists here in New York who are interested in the best way to protect their work may want to reach out to a copyright law attorney. It could be the best career decision they ever make.

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