Cathy Halgas Nevins
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ASCAP Takes Legal Action Against 10 Venues Nationwide That Infringe on Songwriters’ Copyrights by Performing Their Musical Works Without Permission

NEW YORK, June 6, 2018 — The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced today that it has filed 10 separate copyright infringement actions against bars and restaurants nationwide, arising out of the unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works. Two of the infringing venues are Sotto in Madison and The Reef Nightclub in Wisconsin Dells.

ASCAP is a membership association that operates on a non-profit basis and represents more than 660,000 independent songwriters, composers and music publishers. ASCAP ensures its members can earn a living from their art by licensing the public performances of their songs, collecting those license fees, and distributing royalties to its members. Nearly 88% of the license fees ASCAP collects go directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers as royalties.

“When you see a customer at your establishment tapping their foot to the music, you know you’ve created the right ambiance,” commented ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing Stephanie Ruyle. “Music plays an essential role in creating an emotional connection with customers and hundreds of thousands of businesses understand that and recognize a music license is part of the cost of doing business. Our goal is to have businesses comply with the law so that our members can be paid for use of their work, and the establishments sued today have decided not to compensate songwriters. By filing these actions, ASCAP is standing up for songwriters whose creative work brings great value to all businesses that publicly perform their music.”

Songwriters earn their livelihoods by licensing the performance right granted to them under the copyright law. Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully through a simple license, which covers the entire ASCAP repertory of over 11.5 million musical works. The average cost for bars and restaurants amounts to less than just $2 per day for the right to play an unlimited amount of music.

Ruyle continued: “We want every business that uses music to prosper, including bars and restaurants. Songwriters and composers are small business owners, too, and music is more than an art form for them. It’s how they put food on the table and send their kids to school. Most businesses know that an ASCAP license allows them to offer music legally, efficiently and at a reasonable price – while compensating music creators so they can earn a living from our work and keep doing what they do best – writing music.”

ASCAP has made numerous attempts at the establishments listed below to offer a license and educate the business owners about their obligations under federal copyright law. Despite these efforts, the owners of these establishments repeatedly have refused to take or honor a license. Instead, they have continued to perform the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members for the entertainment of their patrons without obtaining permission to do so.

Establishment (City, State):

5Church (Atlanta, GA)

EvenFlow Music & Spirits (Geneva, IL)

Frisky Frog’s (Nashville, TN)

Harp + Bard (Dorchester, MA)

Madison Inn (Middletown, OH)

Sotto (Madison, WI)

The Hooch (Columbus, GA)

The Reef Nightclub (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

Tir Na Nog (New York, NY)

Tony Spavone’s Ristorante (Bloomingdale, IL)

More information about ASCAP’s licensing of bars, restaurants and music venues can be found on ASCAP’s website at:

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 660,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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