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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111516
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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We are a volunteer entertainment group from a 55 plus community.

Customer Question

We are a volunteer entertainment group from a 55 plus community. We recently put in a new audio visual system. We just received a email from ASCAP telling us we need to sign a yearly contract with them to cover all songs played and 12 live performances a year by groups bands ect. The fee each year will be 720 is his all true.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
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.
Unfortunately, in these cases, which many people are not aware of, the band is not liable to pay the ASCAP licensing fees, the association where you are playing is liable for paying them. Legally, if music is being played at your venue, then ASCAP has a right to collect licensing fees and they can if they choose sue and shut down your venue and seek damages. See: http://www.ascap.com/playback/2013/10/action/why-ascap-licenses-bars-restaurants-music-venues.aspx#general
Unfortunately, while some may say you can simply ignore the ASCAP demand, they do take action in cases where they have proof of violations. Also see: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/10/29/ascap-bmi-sesac-force-local-coffee-shop-shut-live-music
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will I really have to sign with both or is ASCAP good enough
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The answer to that is a big "it all depends" as ASCAP and BMI cover different musicians and most times all that is needed is ASCAP (BMI is not generally as harsh in pursuing these cases). However, if BMI does send a notice and you are playing covers from artists not covered by ASCAP, you could have to pay both.