New Albany, Indiana - An Indiana copyright attorney for Broadcast Music, Inc. of New York, New York ("BMI"), Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Fall Out Boy, Inc. d/b/a Chicago X Softcore Songs, Beechwood Music Corporation, and Universal Music-Z Tunes LLC d/b/a Universal Music Z Songs sued in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that The Irish Exit, LLC d/b/a The Irish Exit and Matthew McMahan, both of New Albany, Indiana, committed willful copyright infringement. All copyrights-in-suit have been registered by the U.S. Copyright Office.
In its complaint, BMI states that it has been granted the right to license the public performance rights of more than eight million copyrighted musical compositions, including the compositions at issue. The other plaintiffs are the publishers of the copyrighted music that was allegedly infringed.
The lawsuit, brought under The Copyright Act, alleges that the defendants infringed multiple songs in BMI's repertoire by performing those copyrighted songs without authorization and/or causing the copyrighted songs to be performed publically in The Irish Exit without authorization. BMI alleges that there were three instances of infringement, with each publisher-plaintiff having at least one copyrighted song infringed by the defendants.
BMI contends that The Irish Exit, LLC (the legal entity) has a direct financial interest in The Irish Exit (the business establishment), as does Matthew McMahan. Further, it is alleged that Matthew McMahan is a member of The Irish Exit, LLC, with responsibility for the operation, management and supervision of the activities of LLC and the business establishment.
The plaintiffs claim that they have suffered great and incalculable damage as a result of the defendants' actions and that further acts of infringement will injure them irreparably. They ask that the court enjoin the defendant from committing further acts of infringement. The plaintiffs also seek statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §504(c) and costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
The Copyright Act empowers a plaintiff to elect to receive an award of statutory damages between $750 and $30,000 per infringement in lieu of an award representing the plaintiffs' actual damages and/or the defendants' profits. In a case where the copyright owner proves that infringement was committed willfully, the court may increase the award of statutory damages to as much as $150,000 per infringed work. A finding of willful infringement will also support an award of attorney's fees.
Furthermore, not only is the performer liable for infringement, but so is anyone who sponsors an infringing performance. A corporate officer will be found jointly and severally liable with his corporation for copyright infringement if he (1) had the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity, and (2) has a direct financial interest in such activities.