Springsteen Pissed At ASCAP For Implying He Instigated Lawsuit Against Pub; Demands His Name Removed

from the nice-one,-ASCAP dept

The antics of ASCAP get sadder and sadder with each month. In just the last year alone, the group has claimed that embedding videos from YouTube requires a performance license despite the fact that YouTube already pays them. It's also claimed that ringtones are a public performance as are the 30 second preview clips you hear on iTunes (yes, seriously, they want to be paid for those too). And, of course, every time we post about ASCAP we get people saying that we shouldn't pick on them because they represent the actual songwriters, unlike the RIAA. But the truth is that ASCAP rarely has the best interests of songwriters in mind, especially smaller ones who often get hurt by the way ASCAP determines payouts.

And now it seems that even some of the big acts are getting quite pissed off at ASCAP. One of the key things that ASCAP has done for years, of course, is threaten venues for not paying a license to have music playing in the background. The end result actually harms many artists because venues stop playing music completely and shut down things like open mic nights, which are so critical for many up-and-coming musicians.

Every so often ASCAP goes to the point of suing, and in its latest lawsuit against Connolly's Pub in midtown Manhattan (actually a pretty good place), it named Bruce Springsteen as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, suggesting Springsteen was ripped off. That resulted in headlines, like the one from The Daily News pointing out that Springsteen himself was suing the pub. Of course, it was actually ASCAP, but the whole mess has The Boss so pissed off that he put out a statement slamming ASCAP and saying he wants nothing to do with the lawsuit and ASCAP never should have filed it in the first place:
ASCAP was solely responsible for naming Bruce Springsteen as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Bruce Springsteen had no knowledge of this lawsuit, was not asked if he would participate as a named plaintiff, and would not have agreed to do so if he had been asked. Upon learning of this lawsuit this morning, Bruce Springsteen's representatives demanded the immediate removal of his name from the lawsuit.
Yup, that ASCAP. All about helping the artists and creators, right? Except when they smear their name in lawsuits they want nothing to be a part of...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    A new term is born

    From now on whenever someone does something bone headed, I'm going to refer to them as an ASCAP, or asscap. As in, "Great idea, asscap."

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    any link to the original lawsuit or court filings? I suspect springsteen is only listed as one of the co-plaintiffs, as a matter of course as a rights holder, and through contract, he is likely sort of attached to ASCAP.

    I think the real story is that the newspaper got it wrong.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    "I suspect springsteen is only listed as one of the co-plaintiffs, as a matter of course as a rights holder, and through contract, he is likely sort of attached to ASCAP."

    That's silly. If he's the rights holder, then it's upon him to file the suit, which he didn't, ASCAP did. If he isn't the rights holder because ASCAP's constituency retains the rights, then he doesn't belong being named in the suit.

    Either way, there's no reason for him to be listed if he isn't actively involved...

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    TAM - What an ASSCAP!

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    I wonder if ASCAP paid for the use of Springsteen's name.....

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re:

    DH, I will get back to you later on this, but ASCAP is the publisher and has certain rights and responsiblities. An artist signs their work to them, etc.

    It is complicated, but I think that they may be required to name the songwriter as a co-plantiff, or as a listed interested party. It's why I would want to see the original lawsuit, as the way the plantiffs are listed would be important.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    AdamR (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    If I were Springsteen I would jump into this case from on the pub's side. cover all legal bills and draw up a contract covering all future legal bills associated with performance rights.

    This would undo the damage caused by the ascap and make them look like asses if they ever tried it again. It would also boost Springsteen's name.

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    AdamR (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    Pleas leave poor TAM(pons) alone before he starts crying again about getting trolled here.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    AdamR (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    "Connolly's, which did not return calls for comment, could face a $30,000 fine for skipping out on what would have been a $2,700 licensing fee, Candilora said"

    All this over 2700.00, and they really don't know who the band was? How do they even know if it was Springsteen's version of the song or someone elses?

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    Robert Ring (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:16am

    It's astounding how little business sense some businesses have.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    RD, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    "DH, I will get back to you later on this, but ASCAP is the publisher and has certain rights and responsiblities. An artist signs their work to them, etc."

    Bwahahahaha! Do you even know what ASCAP DOES? They are a COLLECTION SOCIETY for PERFORMANCE FEES. They arent a "publisher" any more than YOU are. The artist certainly doesnt "sign their work" to them, that is the LABEL.

    Jesus, how do you argue these points with a straight face when you dont even know the players? Oh thats right, you dont, you just automatically take the stance opposite that of ANY criticism of Big Media, regardless if its right, true, or even makes sense.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    poor bruce

    y aknow eh hes one of the artists that the CRIA ( AKA RIAA ) hasn't EVER PAID FOR ANY SALE OF HIS MUSIC IN CANADA

    if they treated me that way i might be inclined to get nastey about stuff but here we have a proper musician stating NOT ME MAN

    BRUCE gets it , hes one of my dads favorites and unfortunately my dad doesn't know that ever time he buys one of bruces in Canada BRUCE IS GETTING RIPPED OFF.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    Its the TAM automatic cop out when a story is 100% against what he likes to rant about:
    "I think there is more to this story"

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    mike allen (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    you are WRONG again TAM Bruce springsteen co publishies huis own music as written on all his tracks i looked at in 5 minutes. say publisher Bruce Springsteen /John Landau Management

    perhaps i can get ASCAP out of the letters but no i dont see them there.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:31am

    and i gatehr ASCAP and CRIA also steal money form artists in canada

    anti mike on the move again eh.
    QUICK go talk to your friends get there side

    /me starts passing th eHOME made NON 17$ movie theatre popcorn

    YUP tell us the truth anti mike we believe you ...honest

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    anti anti mike, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    "readers write" form p2pnet

    damn doesnt anti mike sound like him?
    some self professed writer that no one cares about....
    makes ya wonder why p2pnet is closing up , it became like the anti mike show er readers write show.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    MAtt, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    I don't subscribe to the "big [put industry here]" crap where business are vilified for trying to make a profit, but ASCAP is, in fact, a bunch of ass-hats. They extort a seemingly minor fee from small businesses, and they do it over and over again to the tune of, well, I don't know how much money, but I bet it is a lot.

    My own business was extorted by them. They wanted almost $1000 per year because we played the radio. Don't forget that the radio station is paying them, too. We chose to go with a business satellite radio that includes the fee for substantially less...Wonder who has a hand in what back pocket? Oh yeah, and pay one agency and the other music licensing agencies will come running with their hands out, too.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:41am

    and yea sprinstein really could do something here

    i found out hes one of the artists never been paid for all sales in canada a month or so ago.

    MY father being out of the country will be upset to hear that one as hes a firm believer in getting the artists he likes some doh.

    PERHAPS if Bruce is smart he could setup a site in Canada and sell his entire collection via a website. I'LL BUY ONE COPY no matter your cost for my dad. SAD when millions of copies in Canada are effectively counterfeit. WONDER would ACTA prevent this behavior? more questions no answers on that NOT SECRET DEMOCRATIC treaty we are going to get rammed at us.

    In fact if bruce were smarter he'd get a multitude of artists together and offer that pub and any pub a deal.
    put some cdrs in the club, and show tour dates of the real band that another band covers...

    BRUCE has always made more touring hes the perfect example of well i aint making nothing form cdrs ill tour.

    hes old enough to almost be most of yours grandfather AND STILL tours and puts on a damn decent show.

    always impressed .....

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:46am

    well matt

    i bet it might haave been cheaper to hire a few musicans to make you a ton a music that is genre based for your shop
    over the long run.

    they'd prolly do each tune real cheap and you could hten say have that satellite subscription still for 6 months of the year for variety.

    ya know i'll be you culd also find a lot a people like i dunno bands like http://www.myspace.com/costanzas
    who might do some stuff real cheap. and i mean they actually give the music away and use it as promo for touring.

    also remember that most abnds are capable of making other genres a music and might also help you get in touch with others of like mind. IF YOUR using free and open music then ASCAP ( ASSHAT ) can't charge you. and its easy to get a 80$ computer to mix up tunes.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    Original documents are always nice to have before launching off on tirades. If the is the rights holder and has licensed such rights to a third party, it may be that he was considered to be an "indispensable party" because of the licensing arrangement.

    The original document, the complaint, would provide valuable information in this regard.

     

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

  22.  
    icon
    mike42 (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: well matt

    Doesnt' the ASCAP have a government mandate to go after royalties regardless, and keep the money in the event that they cannot find rights holders?

    In other words, is it even possible to opt out, or is all performance subject to these clowns?

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    RD, please, get bent. Take your anger out on your dog or something, I don't need to here from you about it.

    What is ASCAP?

    ASCAP is a membership association of more than 370,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership.

    ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. ASCAP's licensees encompass all who want to perform copyrighted music publicly. ASCAP makes giving and obtaining permission to perform music simple for both creators and users of music.


    A performance rights collection agency, who works for the writers, performers, and publishers to collect various usage rights fees.

    Of course, you could have just done like me and gone to their website to get that definition.

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: well matt

    "In other words, is it even possible to opt out, or is all performance subject to these clowns?"

    I was just reading through their Articles of Association and it looks like it clearly defines a process for opting IN. It's difficult to surmise whether or not that is in order to collect royalties, or for membership at all. The headers and title of the document suggest that it's for membership at all....

    http://www.ascap.com/reference/articles.pdf

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:25pm

    You have to do work if you wanna keep trolling here

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    You have to do work if you wanna keep trolling here

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    RD: "They are a COLLECTION SOCIETY for PERFORMANCE FEES."

    TAM: "A performance rights collection agency, who works for the writers, performers, and publishers to collect various usage rights fees."

    So you agree, that's good.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    RD, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    "A performance rights collection agency, who works for the writers, performers, and publishers to collect various usage rights fees.

    Of course, you could have just done like me and gone to their website to get that definition."

    I did. Thats how I verified that YOU WERE WRONG, about all of it.

    They do NOT have the right to sue on behalf of artists... THEY DONT REPRESENT THEM. They collect PERFORMANCE FEES. They are not their "representative" in legal matters. This is an agreement between those who DO represent the Artists, and ASCAP. They overstepped their bounds in their greed. You were wrong. Again. Suck it up.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How about ASCAP's WE CREATE MUSIC web site- http://www.ascap.com/index.aspx. ASCAP- the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS is empowered by artists to collect royalties on their behalf.

    It is more or less a union for musicians.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    RD, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Tracks 4 and 8 published by Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)."

    Those are specific, live performances. Those arent the RECORDINGS that get played on radio or whatever that ASCAP typically collects a fee for. You really should understand the structure of the business before you try to blindly defend every single thing they do without question.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    haha... sorry RD, I used a wrong word to describe them. You are so right, and I am so wrong. They just collect fees for published music being used in public.

    How ever will you forgive me? Do you need me to kick your dog for you or something?

    Remember: "Tracks 4 and 8 published by Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)."

    Have a nice day!

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    All of this talk about kicking dogs is causing my two Aussie Cattle Dogs to growl at the glow of my laptop uncontrollably.

    And, no, they can't read what's on the screen....don't be silly. I'm reading the comments section aloud to them.

    What? Yes, of course my dogs understand English. Don't yours?

    They also smoke....

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    a-dub (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Ass-hat has the right to license live performances.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Does Springsteen have a potentially valid defamation claim against the ASCAP?

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    The Anti-Mike, respecting others 24/7.

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    RD, it is just an indication that Springsteen is under ASCAP. I wasn't suggesting that those particular songs are being collected for (although in theory, they actually would have collected... that is a whole other issue).

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), Feb 5th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blatant attempt to justify Big Media behavior

    They also smoke....

    try spraying water on them, it usually puts them out.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Randy Paul, Feb 6th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re:

    Actually thst's not at all true. In its agreement with its members the members, including Bruce Springsteen, the members agree to let ASCAP act as their attorney-in-interest for these types of lawsuits. Accordingly, ASCAP was entirely correct in listing Springsteen as one of the plaintiff's if his work was performed without a license. Full disclosure: I worked for ASCAP for nearly twenty years and have no love for them as they kicked me to the curb five years ago after all those years. Their senior management team is exceptionally scummy. That being said, however, the facts are the facts. There was nothing legally wrong with listing Springsteen as a plaintiff. From the pr standpoint it was beyond stupid, however, and the senior management team there has a tin ear for pr.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    A Slate article elaborating on your points:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2244164/pagenum/all

    Interesting that down near the bottom of the article it references a slew of similar past lawsuits.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Slate

    I was going to bring this to Mr. Masnick's attention as well. I would like to hear his rebuttal.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This