Sing Along: Karaoke Night With 14 Songs Costs Tucson Restaurant... $49,000 In BMI Fees

from the sing-along,-everyone dept

mrharrysan was the first of a few to send in this story of a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, that just lost a lawsuit and must pay almost $49,000 for 14 BMI songs that were played at a karaoke night held at the restaurant. It was a default judgment, as the restaurant owners apparently did not respond to the lawsuit and failed to show up. The owners claim they responded to the lawsuit, but there appears to be no evidence of that (the court never received a response). Based on this, the owners clearly deserve their share of responsibility in what appears to be a decision to ignore this. The claim that:
"We answered the complaint, but they (BMI) wanted us to do ridiculous stuff. Our attorney said to take it to court and see where it goes."
also doesn't make much sense. If their attorney said to take it to court, they (perhaps... just a suggestion) should have showed up in court. They now claim they'll appeal, but not showing up for the original case was a huge mistake. Separately, they claim that the karaoke night was run by a third party contractor that was "properly licensed" with BMI and ASCAP, but I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. If I remember correctly, it's the venue that needs the license, not anyone doing the entertaining.

That said, there's still plenty of ridiculousness to go around on the BMI side. BMI has been bullying anyone hosting karaoke nights for a while now, so it's got the process down. However, $49,000 for 14 songs seems ridiculous -- and anyone with any sense of reality would admit that. Not BMI. It's spokesperson, Jerry Bailey indicated to the reporter covering the story that the restaurant was lucky BMI didn't push for $30,000 per song, since it could ask for that much.

And, of course, BMI could admit that the $49,000 for 14 songs is ridiculous and agree to let the restaurant pay a smaller, but reasonable sum, and move on, but it's not doing that either. Instead, Bailey highlights how its shakedown specialists are good at collecting on these judgments:
"It's definitely about the money as well as the judgment," Bailey said. "We will take appropriate steps to secure the judgment. This is not new to us. We are experienced in this area. Our attorneys know what to do."
Yes, the shakedown business is a good one, and BMI has lots of experience in it.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    This is what happens when you let lawyers instead of businesspeople run a business.

    Fucking lawyers.

     

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  2.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    "This is what happens when you let lawyers instead of businesspeople run a business."

    That.

     

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  3.  
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    Peyton Farquhar (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    The BMI clearly lives in SGA la la land, but that being said, the business owners' clearly lied about following atty advice because no atty with a law degree and license to practice would ever recommend NOT answering a complaint. Not even in Arizona. The owners made a bigger mess of the situation that could have been avoided had they not blown off the complaint.

     

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  4.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Another story blown out of proportion

    Mike, you are playing the misinformation game again.

    Here is the key line from the story:

    BMI filed the civil suit in July after Bailey said the organization had made 84 phone calls and sent 44 letters to the restaurant or Adobe's owners regarding the issue, without any response.

    The bar owners lost a default judgement, where as they likely could have licensed up for a couple of hundred dollars. Instead, they ignored over 128 attempts to contact them AND ignored all the court related stuff.

    BMI didn't ask for $49,000 for a license for 14 songs, that is nonsense. They sued for failure to license at between $750 and $30,000 per song. That isn't the license cost, that the rate they seek in the lawsuit when you fail to license (and in this case, fail to respond to over 120 attempts to be contacted).

    The story would be much more complete if BMI had been asked how much the actual license would be. From what I can see, yearly license fees are about $2000 or less for this type of establishment, so a short term license might have been a couple of hundred bucks.

    It's a nice try once again to smear collection and licensing organizations, but the reality is that the bar owner screwed up, and probably 48,500 out of the 49,000 is because of their stupidity, not BMI.

     

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  5.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "It's a nice try once again to smear collection and licensing organizations, but the reality is that the bar owner screwed up, and probably 48,500 out of the 49,000 is because of their stupidity, not BMI."

    Sadly, that is the way I read the article as well. I don't necessarily agree with all of BMI's reactions, but these owners really screwed the pooch here. You never, ever, EVER ignore a notice to appear in court. It sucks, but you go, because not going automatically screws you long term....

     

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  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Someone should fire off a letter to

    Someone should fire off a letter to Adobe Management Services LLC ... What the Creative commons is, describing Music covered by the CC, and where to download it ... Wonder if BMI would try to get an injunction preventing someone from doing that in the future ????

    Dear Sir

    I am writing to inform you that the recent law suit filed against you by BMI can be avoided in the future. As can payments to any collection societies BMI, ASCAP, etc... Allow me a moment to explain the Creative Commons Liscense and music distributed under it ....

    etc
    etc
    etc

    Sincerely

    Hephaestus

    President and CEO of DireRIAA LLC

     

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  7.  
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    deadzone (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    And this makes the $49,000 judgement for 14 songs played at a bar on a Karaoke night more reasonable?

    Owning a copyright to a song should not mean getting paid for every single use in every single instance. It should never be a right - implied or otherwise, to get something for doing nothing just because you own the copyright.

    And they wonder why they are hated?

     

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  8.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "It sucks, but you go, because not going automatically screws you long term...."


    Agreed

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    s a nice try once again to smear collection and licensing organizations, but the reality is that the bar owner screwed up, and probably 48,500 out of the 49,000 is because of their stupidity, not BMI.

    Did you not read the post? I spent most of it talking about how the restaurant owners screwed up.

    And you still get mad? The only "smearing" is your continued efforts to make it appear that I twisted a story when I did not.

     

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  10.  
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    mrharrysan (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    RE:Someone should fire off a letter to

    I don't know how well karaoke would go over at most places with CC license music, it's usually country music at these places... "Sing along with Nine Inch Nails ya'll!"

     

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  11.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    What is the title of the story?

    Sing Along: Karaoke Night With 14 Songs Costs Tucson Restaurant... $49,000 In BMI Fees

    Shouldn't it be "Failure to attend court case costs Restaurant $49,000"?

    $49,000 isn't a BMI fee, it's a court settlement. BMI fees would have been in the range of a couple of hundred bucks (if even). The title alone is a horrible twist on the story that makes it look like BMI sent them a bill for $49,000, which they did not.

    Come on Mike, even your bet fans around here know you are twisting this one hard.

     

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  12.  
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    KevinJ (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    And you are not paying attention.

    "The bar owners lost a default judgement, where as they likely could have licensed up for a couple of hundred dollars. Instead, they ignored over 128 attempts to contact them AND ignored all the court related stuff."

    Mike clearly said it was a default judgment. Stated clearly that the restaurant owners failed to respond to the complaint[s] and failed to show up for court, and clearly said that both were big mistakes on the part of the restaurant owners.

    "That isn't the license cost, that [is] the rate they seek in the lawsuit when you fail to license"

    Where is a license cost mentioned in the post? Just reread the post and the answer is: nowhere. Mike is talking about the judgment amount not a license cost from BMI.

    "It's a nice try once again to smear collection and licensing organizations, but the reality is that the bar owner screwed up, and probably 48,500 out of the 49,000 is because of their stupidity, not BMI."

    And from reading Mike's post, it's clear the bar owners screwed up big time. How is it misinformation if everyone is coming to the same conclusion: the bar owners screwed up.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Someone should fire off a letter to

    Yup, let's all gather around and sing to music nobody has ever heard before. No New York, New York, let's all sing to... wait... everyone, please stay! We won't play this crap you don't know. Why is everyone leaving? We thought you would like an alternative to the music you like.

    FAIL!

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "this makes the $49,000 judgement for 14 songs played at a bar on a Karaoke night more reasonable?"

    "And they wonder why they are hated"

    Actually ... this is a great thing in disguse ... it increases the visibility of these collection agencies, Increases the level of fear and stress, and its one more time that massively large fine is put on display for all the public to see.

    Stick
    Stick
    Stick
    Stick

    meet Carrot, Here is a business idea for someone. Build-Buy a small USB device that does stereo & surround sound, add some software for downloading and playing music from the CC catalog and charge $20-$50 USD a month. The Value added is that they can select from pre built playlists, or create their own.

    291 note/entry) Small device for stereo & surround sound for use in a CC only muzak for restaurants, bars, elevators, etc.

    292 note/entry) Monthly Service to supply music and playlists to organizations.

     

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  15.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Someone should fire off a letter to

    Seems like you are scared of this possibility, of CC and alternative music taking off.

    The one thing I failed to mention was this is part of a larger plan. A business plan that includes moving artists from one collection society to another that isnt as draconian, allows fair use, and is more in line with the copyright clause of the US constitution ...

    I will help you along and Cue the ...

    "It cant work you need known artists ... FAIL!!" rant

    That is the reason I am looking forward to ACTA, CETA, UK's digital economy Bill, being passed into law. What artists is going to want to be party to having their biggest fans Jailed, Fined, and Abused? You already are seeing artists leaving because of this, it will only get worse. All they need is a clearly defined path (Proven Business Plan) to follow and the rest of the artists will follow in droves.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:18pm

    Re: RE:Someone should fire off a letter to

    "Sing along with Nine Inch Nails ya'll!"

    I would pay a cover charge to get in to see this.

     

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  17.  
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    mrharrysan (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Someone should fire off a letter to

    "Seems like you are scared of this possibility, of CC and alternative music taking off."

    Me??? Not at all. I'm a CC artist myself. I'm just saying that the average karaoke patron in these parts wants to sing along to the normal unimaginative top 40/classic rock fare, and a playlist of indie and forward thinking artists is not going to go over too well.

     

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  18.  
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    Are you serious?, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Robert Ring is a total douchebag.

     

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  19.  
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    Big, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

    LOL @ americans

    How about humming a song? is that allowed, do you have to pay for it, is it a monthly fee or a one-time payment? if we play a game where people have to sing a song from memory, do we pay a fee?

    my god, americans have gone way way too far in some areas... and one of them is inventing payment methods and reasons to pay for stuff ! karaoke. fees. rofl.

     

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  20.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    Actually Mike doent have to smear the collection agency, they all do a wonderful job of doing it themselves.

    You can keep schilling, we will keep laughing at you and the collection agencies... while looking for other ways to not pay them...

     

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  21.  
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    IOERROR, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Whats next.

    So whats next? If I post lyrics to a song on the internet I have to pay BMI? If I get busted singing in the shower I have a fine? Good God this is getting retarded. Greed like this makes me want to pull my radio from my car and never support the music business again. These people already makes insane money from us and now they want more.

    I agree the bar owner was a great fool if he ignored the notices but the bottom line is he should have never gotten them. It's insane to think that karaoke requires such a thing.

     

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  22.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: LOL @ americans

    And what awesome, super liberated, no issues nation are YOU from, my friend?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Someone should fire off a letter to

    Scared? I have no dog in the fight, nothing to be scared of. I am just sitting here LMFAO thinking about a bunch of people in a bar trying to sing songs they have never heard before and will never hear again. They might as well do it in Japanese!

    As for the replacement business plan, I suspect it will end up back at the same place we are now: Artists wanting to get paid, collection agencies aggressively trying to collect, and a few whiny ones crying "think about the children and horrible raporists!". I suspect it's about a 10 year cycle.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Whats next.

    Why is it insane to think they need to license the music?

    Is the bar making money off the music? Yes. This case is even more obvious, the bar is specifically using Karaoke to get people in the door. Thus, it is even more of a money source for the bar. Commercial use, pay for that use.

    It's not complicated, unless you think everything should be free.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Myself, I do not beleive everything in the world should be free, but we shouldn't have to be extorted either. Karoake may be a commercial use, but it also has a commercial benefit for the artist. Publicity. I know my wife has gone out to karaoke and then came home to DL songs from ITunes that she hasnt heard before ( or in a long time) and wants to hear them again.

     

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  26.  
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    Steve, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    I am sorry but it shouldn't be possible to have a $49,000 judgement against you for a 14 song karaoke night. I don't care how much the restaurant owner screwed up. The problem is that this is possible in the first place. If the possible penalty was something reasonable like $2 per song then it would prevent companies from bringing suit unless it was worth the time and effort. It would be nice if I could take someone to court who bounced a check to me for $14.00 and get a judgement for $49k but there is not. I have to decide whether it is worth going to small claims to recover my loss. If it is not I just write it off. Why should it be any different for the music industry?

     

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  27.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    Steve, do you think that $2 would make it worth it for the copyright holder? Do you think BMI would have made 128 different attempts to contact them to collect $28?

    You are thinking in terms of the license, which in fact likely would have been about $2 a song. They failed to license, they failed to address the issue when contacted, and they failed to show up in court. Just showing up in court it might have been $1400 or something like that. They failed, the court ruled, and away you go.

    If they had taken the step to license or address the issue along the way, your $2 price might have been right.

     

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  28.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

    !!!!!!!!.....

    Ah yes.. bmi and ASS-CAP at it again. bmi loves to be part of all things that suggests the location of sombody's backside. };p

    All entertainment industry stooges, worldwide, have lost touch with how music and movies and books affect the nature of society in such a personal way. By defining music, strictly as "property" or "assets" damages the relationship between society and music.

    Yes. We understand that music was created by someone. And sure, they should receive credit and recognition for that. Copying CDs and handing them out for free without the creator's permission.. we understand that too.

    But when you prevent the purpose of the music and the affect it has on social interaction from coming together, you harm the purpose of music. It damages society, not only as a whole, but individually as well.

    The pirating of music, movies and books will never stop, nor recede until this dangerous and damaging perception comes to an end. :p

     

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  29.  
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    Burgos, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: LOL @ americans

    The guy must be from Asia, where Karaoke is a part of life even for the artists themselves.

     

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  30.  
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    Ryan Diederich, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    BMI attacks more than profiteers...

    Collection agencies like this have gone after the girl scouts. Are the girl scouts making a profit off their music? No, but agency X isnt making a profit off of them and THATS the problem.

    Just so they know, I play my car radio loud enough for others to hear, I sing and MENTION songs in public, and on top of that the retail store I work in plays music in the background.

    How come they dont sue every store in america for background music?

     

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  31.  
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    Moral Outrage, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    Re: BMI attacks more than profiteers...

    Three campfire sing alongs and you are kicked out of the camp site, what's wrong with that ? If the girl scouts insist on stealing the songs without paying then they should suffer the consequences. Maybe they could pay up in cookies.

     

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  32.  
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    Glenn, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    Yeah, well,

    this kind of behavior is why I, and, I'm sure, many millions of others, will never, ever buy "music" again. As for myself, I simply ignore it now. I bought my last CD more than 15 years ago, some time around the first RIAA lawsuits. And then there's the copyright "issues" with the "free" advertising these labels get from TV shows (like WKRP) that the shows are actually expected to pay *them* for. Screw 'em... they can keep their crap.

     

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  33.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Yeah, well,

    Does that mean you are not going to listen to any licensed music either? Are you actually going to purposely avoid radio, TV, and never enter a bar again?

    Or are you just going to "borrow" the music online, enjoy it, and complain anyway?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    I don't listen to licensed music. I also don't "borrow" the music online, whatever that means. What do you mean by "borrow"? Why is the word "borrow" in quotes? Are you quoting someone?

     

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  35.  
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    Monarch (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    That's the point! There shouldn't be an outrageous penalty for licensing a KAROKE machine or Radio or Jukebox. The f'ing artists were already paid for the cd in the jukebox, the cd for the karoke or the radio. F'ing DOUBLE DIPPING IS WRONG!!!

     

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  36.  
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    Monarch (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Re: Whats next.

    So should the bar pay royalties to the company that made the pool tables and dart boards? Should the bar pay royalties to the company that made the shot glasses and other glasses? Should the bar pay royalties to the liquor company for reselling it's liquor for a profit? Should the bar pay royalties for the fried food suppliers for reselling the food? Should the bar pay royalties to the icemaker machine company? Ect.., Ect..,

    Come on the Bar makes money off of all those things! Why pay royalties (Welfare) to one supplier and not the others? What a F'd up system we have in this world!

     

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  37.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

    Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    Kevin, Mike does make mention of the bar owners mistakes, but he chooses to focus on BMI, even suggesting in the title that $49,000 was their fee for using the songs, which is not correct. That is where he refers to it as a license rather than a judgement.

    The best example:

    Yes, the shakedown business is a good one, and BMI has lots of experience in it.

    He can't even resist suggesting that this is a shakedown, even though it appears to be about 99% the bar owner's fault.

    It's an ugly swipe at BMI, even when they are in the right. Mike just can't help himself! His conclusion says nothing about the bar owners, only that BMI is experiened in shakedowns.

     

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  38.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 18th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    I wasn't talking to you.

     

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  39.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 5:33am

    Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    "Or are you just going to "borrow" the music online, enjoy it, and complain anyway?"

    Your bias is showing again...

    You seem to be accusing Glenn of piracy. Please point to where he stated he will illegally download RIAA music, rather than simply ignoring it or getting it through legal free channels such as Pandora or terrestrial radio. Please point to where he states that he even still listens to music through any means, rather than ignoring it and spending his cash on other forms of entertainment.

    Otherwise, try to stop projecting. It's pathetic.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    BMI doing gods work

     

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  41.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    No that's just ridiculous - life and business ought not to be legal games where you are constantly in jeopardy of ridiculous penalties for what should only be minor matters.

    What BMI are doing is simply harassment and extortion. It may be legal but it isn't moral or reasonable.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Whats next.

    Monarch, what part of "paid in full" are you not getting?

    The pool table? Paid in full.
    The dart board? Paid in full.
    The shot glasses? Paid in full.

    The UFC pay per view on the TV? Rights rented (if they are legal), not paid in full. Rented - unless you want to spend about 10 million for the exclusive rights.

    The Karaoke music? Rented the rights, not paid in full - unless of course you want to pay $$$ per song to own all the rights.

    It's not a difficult concept, provided you learn the difference between ownership and usage rights.

     

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  43.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    I am only suggesting that if Glenn continues to enjoy the music but doesn't pay for it, he only got it by borrowing.

    Using legal channels (such as radio, Pandora) still means that the RIAA gets paid, because he is paying those stations in various ways (by listening to commercials, example, or paying a subscription fee).

    If he really wants to say f--k the RIAA, then he needs to stop listening to commercial music altogether, and listen only to unsigned bands that he downloads from sites that don't pay the RIAA. He needs to dump all his mp3s, empty out his ipod, and start over from zero. That is the only way you get away, otherwise you are complaining but still enjoying the product. The only way he could do that is by "borrowing" music from someone else, you know P2P?

    Either he's a man and stands up for what he says, or backs down and admits he likes the RIAA product, he uses it every day, and would feel something missing without it.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    What arrogance.

     

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  45.  
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    I thought the music died, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    I wish the stores would stop playing that crappy music they pipe over the pa system. I want a refund of the prorated charge I was subjected to. Dont attempt the "just go to a different store" line, because they all do it. It is a monopoly, you can not purchase groceries without music and I for one am sick and tired of it.

     

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  46.  
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    Dah Bear!, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    So next time you go to the store, tell them. Write letters of protest to their head office. Start a website, a populist revolt. Overthrow the b@stards!

    Go for it. try to live without music. Tell them to turn it off!

    Remember, tin foil is in aisle 6. Get the good stuff, the cheap stuff doesn't work right.

     

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  47.  
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    LoL, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    Agreed copyright is harming the food chain :)

    ps: Not mocking you just remember the somebody from the copyright camp said piracy harms corn :)

    People should really start looking for legal alternatives and use their power to their advantage.

    Any music no licensed with a CC Commons share a like 3.0 should be discarded.

    Sooner or latter they will be coming begging for us to listen to their music and will have to license it accordingly.

     

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  48.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "Steve, do you think that $2 would make it worth it for the copyright holder? Do you think BMI would have made 128 different attempts to contact them to collect $28?"
    Obviously not - but because they saw the opportunity for an extortionate payout they pursued it...

    The point is that if (say) the BMI had collected $100 extra from the bar in error - even in culpable error - can you imagine ANY circumstances in which the bar could have got back $49K?

    The problem is that these things are so unfair and one sided that no impartial observer could defend them.

     

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  49.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "It's an ugly swipe at BMI, even when they are in the right."
    They are "in the right" in that they are following a law which they wrote for themselves - they are in the right like Robert Mugabe is "in the right".

    In any normal case the worst that could have happened to the bar is having a few hundred dollars worth of stuff removed by bailiffs - even if they never responded to the court at all.
    The ones taking an ugly swipe at the BMI are .... the BMI.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    The point is that if (say) the BMI had collected $100 extra from the bar in error - even in culpable error - can you imagine ANY circumstances in which the bar could have got back $49K?

    Nope. But then again, we aren't talking about an underpayment, we are talking about a total disregard for responsiblity, not even taking the time to answer 128 attempts at contact AND a court date. Had they answers BMI, I am sure the license wouldn't have been very much.

    BMI isn't the bad guy here, they did what they are legally required to do, and ended up having to take it to court. The court decided the number, not BMI.

    Actually, I can think of one way that BMI could end up on the hook for not returning an overpayment. Say they got over paid, and the bar owner made 128 different attempts to get repaid and had to hire a lawyer and the lawyer is VERY expensive, and they are required to make public notice, go for a seizure, etc, I could see where they might run up $48,900 of extra costs. But that would require BMI to be as ignorant as this bar owner appears to be, and miss out on at least 129 ways to get out for $100.

     

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  51.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 19th, 2009 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "The bar owners lost a default judgement, where as they likely could have licensed up for a couple of hundred dollars. Instead, they ignored over 128 attempts to contact them AND ignored all the court related stuff."

    Yeah, because a new business doesn't have anything else going on. Sure, you can say "This is worth paying attention to because it will bankrupt you." But that only makes sense once you've already gotten past the building inspectors, the health inspectors et al.

    Lo and behold! Some group that claims to own all music is shutting you down!

    Fuck 'em. I've never felt better about "pirating" shit than right now.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2009 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Yeah, well,

    last time I checked "I" have never paid a fee to listen to the radio freenet+cd= no RIAA money :(...

    now there's a good idea... why don't they charge a "fee" every time someone buys a radio. I'm sure mister shill there would love that.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    ?, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Whats next.

    Exactly is a shakedown.

    Top to bottom. With extortion going by the name "rental" :)

    The karaoke box have to have paid the licenses for the music and the bar owner have to pay them again is a nice scheme like the Nigerian schemers.

    There is such a thing as exhaustion of rights you know.

    Double dipping is not socially accepted but some want to change that, see Europe trying to force Canada to accept the same reasoning.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Annaya the Poet, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 4:53am

    Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    Point is, as I see it, in this economy the BMI's of the world are grasping for straws when it comes to finding ANY and ALL means of generating revenue. There are restaurants and DJs all over the WORLD who either host or have a Karaoke night and my question would then become, "Will BMI chase down EVERY single LITTLE person or business that plays Karoke songs at their events?" Gimme a break. I mean really, like would I pay them a fee for having a Karoke machine at my little 8 years old's birthday party? That's how rediculous this could get!

    It really doesn't matter if BMI tried to contact these people 1,000 times, more importantly is the point that even if its $1 in a fee, its too much to charge for something as simple as playing an instrumental to a song and letting a 'common everyday joe' sing it at a microphone for entertainment. The whole thing is absurd. Karoake night Licensing Fee? FEES-FEES-FEES-TAX-TAX-TAX! Gimme a beak! Now imagine this, next they'll start TAXING us for singing their songs along with the radio! How has the artist been damaged in any way? Stop TAXING the little people already!

    We need to get on to bigger and more important things! And trust me, there are far more important things that BMI could be spending legals fee money on like making donations to reputable nonprofits that are trying to change the lives of the children who are our future. Now that's worth chasing after!

    Check me out at www.annaya.com

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    A new business? This is a chain of 6 establishments. I assume they didn't just wake up one morning and open 6 places.

    READ THE STORY.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    DB, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    More old news?

    You all understand that BMI (ASCAP, publishers, etc.) have been suing bar and restaurant owners for unauthorized performances for 80 years or so right?
    And yes, in some instances the fees appear logically out of whack, depending on the business model.
    But there are also plenty of cases of arrogant bar, restaurant and club owners who think they should be permitted to do anything they want.

     

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  57.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    "BMI isn't the bad guy here, they did what they are legally required to do, and ended up having to take it to court. The court decided the number, not BMI."

    This argument reminds me strongly of the MP's expenses scandal in the UK. It strikes me that you guys (BMI and defenders) just don't "get it".

    Just like the MP's you cling to the argument that what you are doing is legal - and some other body (in this case the court in the MP's case the parliamentary expenses officials) are making the decisions. You just go on pushing this line and you don't realise just how bad you look to those outside your cosy little circle.

    My prediction is that it will end (eventually) in the same way. The tragedy in the MP's case is that many innocent MPs have been tarred with the immorality brush and have ended up having to retire from parliament - so when the whole copyright system is dismantled because the public decides it just can't put up with it anymore so some "innocent" artists may lose out.

     

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  58.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    Maybe - but the Karaoke nights were organised by a third party who had assured the restaurant owners that they already held all the required licenses. So the restaurant ignored the m=notices assuming that they were erroneous or misdirected.

    READ THE STORY

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    deadhead, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    So you work 8+ hours a day and it's ok if I only pay you for some or none of those hours? What's the difference again?

     

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  60.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 20th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    Simple. The artists have already been paid in full for their work (by the standards of hourly paid workers).

    You are suggesting that they should be paid again and again every time someone uses their work.

    You pay the plumber once for doing the work not again and again every time you take a shower!

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Mike Raphone, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 3:42pm

    We answered the complaint, but they (BMI) wanted us to do ridiculous stuff

    Usually the shakedown artists like BMI make ridiculous demands for personal information, like the defendants tax returns for Five Years. They will name persons unrelated to the complaint in the lawsuit, like the owners wife, so that they can engage in a fishing expedition and torment the defendant. The objective is to increase the legal fees and expose the defendant to secondary effects of the fishing expedition, like violations of the Federal Tax Code, so that the defendant will find that paying the demands of the plaintiff will cost less than fighting the shakedown. I would like to know if the claim, the defendant did not respond, really means that the defendant refused to provide the invasive information that BMI's lawyers demanded.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Mark, Dec 20th, 2009 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Whats next.

    Well lets look at it the way a Library works. The writer gets pied every time the book is read on top of getting paid for every time it's sold how would you feel about that? why is music treated as this perpetual money maker for the person that created it? every time I use my car some person in Detroit doesn't ggt paid a few cents for having manufactured the dash of my car.

     

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  63.  
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    anymouse (profile), Dec 21st, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    You do realize that there is a difference between incurring $49,000 of costs and getting a court judgment that cover those costs VS having ZERO costs and getting a court judgment to award $49,000 to cover that big fat ZERO, right?

    No, I didn't think you would grasp the difference, which is why you make such a good shill, no 'higher cognitive functioning' to get in the way of repeating the industry party lines.

    Lets take a look at why the Bar owner may not have responded:
    BMI: Hey, we think you need to pay us for those people having fun in your restaurant, if you don't want something bad to happen to you.
    Owner: Ignores blatant extortion attempt from industry.

    Rinse and repeat. Obviously ignoring the 'court' orders was a mistake, but I can easily see why they would ignore the typical collection tactics of the 'Industry'.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    The Anti-Mike, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another story blown out of proportion

    You owe me a computer screen, I spit my coke all over the screen laughing at the absolutely stupid thought that you would compare a murderous dictator to an artist collection company.

    OMFG! Did you actually think about it when you wrote it, or are you so pushed to find a flaw in a simple case that you have to go that far?

    I shake my head and head off to find some paper towels to wipe up the mess.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Jerry Walter, Dec 21st, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    It wasn't about karaoke

    All of this talk about karaoke is totally irrelevant. What the newspaper story didn't tell is that BMI's researcher found a live father/daughter duo and CDs played in the restaurant on one of the two nights, in addition to karaoke. Under copyright law, it doesn't matter how the music was illegally used, anyway, whether recorded or live. The lawsuit was not about karaoke. Also, BMI operates on a non-profit basis, paying about 88% of all revenue collected to songwriters and publishers. They don't work for record companies or artists (unless they write the songs).

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Josh Taylor, Oct 10th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    sing 3 songs and you lose your larynx

    Let me get this straight.

    Sing three songs and you will lose your larynx (voice box).

    If the bartender ever showed up, the court would've declared it as "fair use".

    I say we Boycott and shun technology and live like the Amish.

    At least by now, the "private acts of infringement" is not included in ACTA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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