December 04, 2006 08:00 ET

ASCAP Initiates Infringement Actions Against Establishments in Breach of License Agreements

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 4, 2006 -- The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) today announced that it has filed 10 separate infringement actions against nightclubs, bars and restaurants in 8 states.

In each of the cases filed today, the business establishment had signed a license agreement with ASCAP, but failed to comply with the license's payment terms. ASCAP reached out to each of the establishments repeatedly over a significant period of time before taking legal action -- in some cases over a period as long as two years. In every instance, the licensee refused to pay the fees owed under the license, leaving ASCAP no choice but to terminate the license for default. Thereafter, the businesses continued to perform ASCAP members' music without permission, resulting in the filing of the infringement actions.

ASCAP protects the rights of its members -- songwriters, lyricists, composers and music publishers -- by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. Those licensed by ASCAP include any establishment or business that wants to perform copyrighted music publicly.

"The situation with these establishments is certainly regrettable. But it has long been ASCAP's experience that if we do not enforce our agreements with club owners and other music users, many of them will simply continue to avoid their obligations to comply with the law," said Vincent Candilora, Senior Vice President of Licensing at ASCAP. "In the end, this really hurts the individual songwriters who are also, in effect, 'small business owners.'"

"Each of these establishments signed license agreements with ASCAP, clearly recognizing and validating the importance of compensating music creators for their work," added Candilora. "Their refusal, over a long period of time, to comply with the license agreement they themselves acknowledged puts ASCAP in the position of having to seek legal action so individual songwriters and composers receive the revenue they deserve, and can continue to bring new creative works to life."

Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully, through acceptance of a license covering the use of over 8 million copyrighted songs and compositions. Nearly 90% of the license fees ASCAP collects are paid as royalties directly to ASCAP members. The balance covers ASCAP's operating costs, which are among the lowest in the world for a performing rights organization, and the lowest by far in the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions about licensing can be found on ASCAP's website at

The establishments (listed below) have performed publicly the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP's songwriter, composer and music publisher members without receiving their permission to do so, resulting in lost income for these music creators.

Establishment, City, State

La Perla Café, Glendale, AZ
Club Central, Phoenix, AZ
Fat Fenders Grille and Saloon, Englewood, CO
Renegades Country Bar, West Palm Beach, FL
Sissy K's, Boston, MA
Black Betty, Brooklyn, NY
TC Hooligan's Bar & Grill, Rochester, NY
Mad Frog, Cincinnati, OH
Bob & Barbara's, Philadelphia, PA
The Vault, Houston, TX

Established in 1914, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 260,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members. ASCAP also represents the repertories created by the international affiliates of 70 foreign performing rights organizations. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American Performing Rights Organization owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.