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Music Company Suit

Triggers 19 Nervous Breakdowns

6/5/2013 12:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0604-sonny-cher-mj-gaga-lil-wayne-getty-tmzWhat do Sonny and Cher, Kansas, Michael Jackson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bono, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, The Beach Boys, Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga, Toby Keith, Jefferson Airplane, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Amy Winehouse, Weezer, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Redding, Air Supply, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash, Bob Seger and Fleetwood Mac have in common?

They're all responsible for a bunch of small town bars possibly getting forced out of business for the capital offense of playing their songs.

Here's the deal.  BMI -- the famous music licensing company -- has filed lawsuits against 12 bars and restaurants around the country, claiming the establishments have been playing their songs without paying a licensing fee.  And it gets a lot worse.  For every BMI song that gets played on a bar jukebox or by a DJ without the proper fee being paid, BMI is entitled to $150,000 in damages.  So "Love Child" could literally put a bar out of biz.

As for how BMI picked the places to sue -- it appears to have been pretty random.  Some of the targets are The Fox Hole in West Jordan, Utah, Mojo Main in Newark, Delaware, Whiskey River Ranch, (we think it's in Springfield, Oregon), Whiskey Bones Roadhouse in Rochester, Minnesota, Kildare's Irish Pub in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Pig 'N' Whistle in NYC.

BMI is obviously sending a message to hundreds of thousands of bars and restaurants across the US of A -- playing "Free Bird" ain't so free after all.

122 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

Cathryn Mazer    

BMI - Bitches Must be Insane. If I owned one of those bars I'd happily dump all their music and let them keep it.

419 days ago
2.

catster    

So instead of just signing the bars up retroactively for their $200/year license, they are going to put them out of business and make an example? The only thing you are communicating, BMI, is that you are run by stodgy old men who have no idea where digital media is going. You look like a$$holes, and no one will care if those bars go out of business, but we will always remember how uncool you are.

419 days ago
3.

KellyBFan    

profits profits profits ... thats how they become members of the dictatorship of the 1%

419 days ago
4.

Kirsten    

Shocking churlish of them. Playing music in pubs and restaurants is a way of promoting the artists. Ridiculous.

419 days ago
5.

Drey    

It isn't just playing the songs. A business can play the songs, but they can only use 1 speaker. If more than one speaker is used then royalties have to be paid. Been in radio a long time.....

419 days ago
6.

cobrazombie    

What a bunch of licensing douchebags.


I hope the music industry goes out of business instead.

419 days ago
7.

SoWhat    

This is nothing new for BMI or any of the other copyright extremists, they have gone much much further than this and much more ridiculous and will go even further.

419 days ago
8.

What!     

BMI- Bowel Movement Indeed ...going after the little guy.

419 days ago
9.

Wash. Hts. Girl    

Here is a little history of the Bertelsmann Music Group.

The C. Bertelsmann Verlag was founded as a publishing house and print shop in July 1835 by Carl Bertelsmann. At first Bertelsmann concentrated on Christian songs and books. In 1851, led by Carl Bertelsmann's son Heinrich, the company began publishing novels. During the following years Bertelsmann expanded steadily. By 1939 the publishing house employed 401 people. During World War II, Bertelsmann was the biggest single producer of Nazi propaganda. Its owner, Heinrich Mohn, is said to have belonged to a group that donated money to the Nazi squadron SS. At the end of World War II, the publishing house was closed for some time because of illegal paper-trading. During the Nazi period, it published books by Nazi authors such as Will Vesper (who did the commemorative speech at the 1933 book burning) and Hans Grimm. In 1947, the company was re-founded by Reinhard Mohn, fifth generation of the Bertelsmann family. In 2002 a commission appointed by the company itself found that it had co-operated closely with the Nazis during the war, and had also used Jewish prisoners in the form of slave labor.

They are just acting as they always have! Nothing has changed!

419 days ago
10.

tgrfan42069    

artists always say they make music so people can hear their voice..just dont share their voice for free or else they get mad.biggest load of **** i have ever heard.almost as bad as doctors saying they are in it to help people.meanwhile if you dont pay the very high fee just to see the doctor they will not see you.

419 days ago
11.

billybob    

Hey TMZ, fantastic Photoshop work, congrats!

419 days ago
12.

Corey    

The music industry makes way to much money as it is, always going after the little guys..... This is FREE advertising for the celebrity who sang it, I think this is completely wrong and all these restaurants and bars should get together and file a law suite against the Music Industry for trying to ruin there businesses. Dear Music Industry instead of purchasing that house you don't clean yourself or that car you only drive up the street, why don't you help out all these establishments around the country and help the economy out, instead of going after them.... just a thought......

418 days ago
13.

Dave    

On one hand,it's only fair to go after them because there are thousands of others that did pay the fees. On the other hand, BMI is the music industry mafia and act as such with nobody looking into them and their scrupulous actions.

418 days ago
14.

YouDontSay    

Message I am receiving..All about the money not the music.

418 days ago
15.

brian    

Anything for a buck, that's the American way. Man, I'd love to find out that the place I hung out on weekends for years was closed down because they played RHCP songs...

418 days ago
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