21 October 2016Copyright

WB Music Corp says strip club infringed copyright

WB Music Corp (WBC) has sued a US strip club for copyright infringement.

WBC sued Tennessee Entertainment Concepts (TEC) at the US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division on Tuesday, October 18.

The suit centres on a strip club owned by TEC called The Pony, where music was publicly performed.

WBC is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

ASCAP is a not-for-profit music rights organisation that protects its members’ musical copyright. Each member grants ASCAP a non-exclusive right to license the performing rights for its work.

In March 2009, TEC entered into a licensing agreement with ASCAP, but “failed to pay” the licensing fees as required by the agreement, according to the lawsuit.

ASCAP allegedly stopped the agreement “for default” in September 2015.

However, The Pony allegedly continued to play copyrighted music owned by ASCAP’s members including WBC without permission.

Since September 30, 2015, ASCAP has continued to contact The Pony to reinstate its licence, but the defendant has refused all of ASCAP’s licensing offers for the club, according to the suit.

The suit added that the “wrongful acts” of the defendant have caused “great injury” to the plaintiffs.

Other plaintiffs named in the suit include EMI April Music and Easy Action Music.

WBC is asking for TEC to pay statutory damages of no more than $30,000 and no less than $750 for each cause of action, costs and attorneys’ fees.

UPDATE: After publication of this story, ASCAP contacted WIPR to point out that it initiated this action, and nine other similar actions across the US.

It explained: "Each Plaintiff in the lawsuit, including WB Music Corp, is an ASCAP member, and grants to ASCAP a non-exclusive grant to license non-dramatic public performances of the copyrighted songs that they own. ASCAP, in turn, has an obligation to its members to monitor and enforce their copyrights.

"Each member of ASCAP also grants to ASCAP all rights necessary to enforce the copyrights of the musical works owned by the members, and appoints ASCAP as the members’ attorney-in-fact authorised to prosecute claims for copyright infringement on their behalf. So, while ASCAP is not a named plaintiff, it initiates and is primarily responsible for oversight of these lawsuit."

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