ASCAP is not playing with these venues that benefit from songwriter’s music. As Big Worm told Smokey in the classic Friday film, “playing with my money is like playing with my emotions!” ASCAP is not having it and you can’t play with their songwriter’s money. ASCAP announced that it has filed nine separate copyright infringement actions against bars and restaurants nationwide, arising out of the unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works.
ASCAP is a membership association that operates on a non-profit basis and represents more than 540,000 independent songwriters, composers and music publishers. ASCAP ensures its members can earn a living from their art by licensing the public performances of their songs, collecting those license fees, and distributing royalties to its members. Nearly 88% of the license fees ASCAP collects go directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers as royalties.
“Music is enormously valuable to bars and restaurants, creating an emotional connection with patrons and providing the right ambience to attract and retain customers,” commented ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing Vincent Candilora. “Hundreds of thousands of well-run businesses across the nation recognize the importance of paying music creators to use their music, and understand that it is both the lawful and right thing to do. However, each of the establishments sued today has decided to use music without compensating songwriters. By filing these actions, ASCAP is standing up for songwriters whose creative work brings great value to all businesses that publicly perform their music.”
Songwriters earn their livelihoods by licensing the performance right granted to them under the copyright law. Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully through a simple license, which covers the entire ASCAP repertory of over 10 million musical works. The average cost for bars and restaurants amounts to less than just $2 per day for the right to play an unlimited amount of music.