Steve Bryant passes on the news that Guiseppe's Italian Restaurant in Washington is facing a lawsuit over playing some popular jazz tunes in the restaurant without paying the ASCAP fees. This sort of thing happens all the time, and the language used by the lawyers is probably pretty standard. However, it is amusing: "The said wrongful acts of the Defendants have caused and are causing great injury to the Plaintiffs, which damage cannot be accurately computed, and unless the Court restrains the Defendants from the further commission of said acts, said Plaintiffs will suffer irreperable (sic) injury." I'd like to see the lawyers explain how playing a song in a restaurant is likely to cause "irreparable injury" (whether or not it's spelled correctly). It's also hard to believe that the "damages" cannot be accurately computed. They're likely to be close to zero. I'd think that, especially with these kinds of songs, the much more likely story is that playing an old classic is actually more likely to act as a promotion, encouraging people to go out and purchase the music in question. However, we have to remember that in the view of the entertainment industry these days, there's no such thing as promotional value to content. Still, perhaps the restaurant should ask the record labels suing them to pay them for promoting their back catalog.
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