Hammond, Indiana – Copyright lawyers for BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) of New York City and various musical copyright holders such as Universal and EMI Virgin Songs have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Shenanigans pub in Portage, IN. The complaint alleges that the defendant and its chief officer caused, publicly displayed at least ten musical compositions protected by copyrights registered in the U.S. Copyright Office without obtaining a copyright license.
Practice Tip: Although an individual can play copyrighted music or video in their home, playing them in a public place requires a license from the copyright owner. BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) acts as a licensing agent for many copyrighted works. According to Section 106(4) of Title 17, U.S. Code, To perform or display a work “publicly” means “. . . (1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.”
BMI and other large copyright owners (such as DirecTV) regularly use investigators who frequent public establishments to obtain evidence of unlicensed “public performances.” It is often difficult to defend these cases because the copyright owner is often entitled to recover their attorneys fees in any litigation (assuming they registered their copyrights early).
Further information about this case is as follows:
Filed: November 16, 2010 as 2:2010cv00458 Updated: November 19, 2010 02:07:50
Plaintiffs: Barn-Storm Music Inc , Belkin Music , Big Bad Mr Hahn Music , Big Yellow Dog LLC , Broadcast Music Inc and others
Defendant: Matthew Kelly
Referring Judge:Andrew P Rodovich
Cause Of Action: Copyright Infringement