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Bappelman, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed Attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin
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For years I have payed a fee to an organization called ASCAP.

Resolved Question:

For years I have payed a fee to an organization called ASCAP. I have been wondering if they are a legitimate organization and the fees I pay are legitimate.
I am a dance studio owner and as far as I'm concerned I promote the artist by using their music and clients want to know who the artist are and go out and purchase it. To me this is free advertisement and promotes the artist which I should be riembursed for, but instead I pay ASCAP to advertise for their clients. In addition; I know of many other businesses that use music to enhance their business and don't pay to ASCAP.For example; ASCAP told me that DeeJay's are exempt from these fees which seems unfair to me, since we both pay music to entertain. Should I have to pay ASCAP base on this info?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Bappelman replied 6 years ago.

ASCAP, as you know, is a licensing bureau that sells the rights to play their client's music in commercial settings.

Bars, restaurants, and almost every other commercial venue that plays music are required to pay the music companies for using the songs in their businesses.

As a business that uses music to enhance your own business, you are required to pay royalties for the use of the music.

AS to why DJ's do not have to pay, that is because the Music companies want their songs played on the radio. So they do not make the DJ's pay for using them. They could, they just choose not to.

You are not required to be a member of ASCAP, however if you are not, you are opening yourself up to being sued for unlawful use of the music. If your business is small enough you might never get caught, but if you did, you could be sued for using the music without permission..

Please do not blame the messenger. I can only tell you what the law dictates, and sometimes that is not the answer we were hoping for.

Good Luck!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Okay thank you. You answered my question regarding studio ownership, but I was referring to DeeJays that play for private functions, e.g. weddings, birthday parties, ect..
Expert:  Bappelman replied 6 years ago.
The DJ's normally do not pay because the venue in which they perform must have the license.

So when a DJ plays at a wedding in a banquet hall, the hall must pay the licensing fees. Mot hosting venues will have a license for this purpose.

As for DJ's playing at non-commercial venues (Schools, churches..) they are supposed to pay, but probably do not do so.

I hope that this answers your question.
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