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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 115453
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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I own a small pub. We do not have enough room music but we

Customer Question

I own a small pub. We do not have enough room for live music but we do have a 42" tv and a 21" tv. BMI and ASCAP has been relentless in trying to convince me that I should pay their fees for the tv that may play music on commercials or programs. After finally having them agree to we didn't owe them for live music, they decided I owed them for the sound coming out of the TV. I have a commercial tv account with Dish who say that I'm broadcasting commentary, not audio so I shouldn't have to pay, however, ASCAP won't relent! They won't take any information unless it comes from a lawyer.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If you are paying for a commercial Dish account, you need to stop responding to ASCAP and BMI. I would get rid of the second TV and have only 1 TV and you can claim the homestyle device exception. Here is the article that explains why you merely turing on a TV you pay for in your business does not mean you owe ASCAP or BMI: https://www.paaba.org/2011/10/when-should-small-business-pay-ascap-or-bmi/
IF you cannot fall under the homestyle device exemption, the ASCAP and BMI do have fees for you broadcasting in your business for commercial purposes and this seems what they are claiming.
However, if they sue you, which is unlikely, you would need to hire a local attorney to defend the suit. Legally we cannot write the letter for you, it has to come from a local attorney. However, they would be right, regardless of what Dish claims, if you are playing it on multiple devices in your business.

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