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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 118752
Experience:  Attorney practicing all aspects of copyright/trademark law
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I own a Food and Beverage establishment under 2000SF SESAC

Customer Question

I own a Food and Beverage establishment under 2000SF SESAC say I must pay for TV rebroadcasts. I believe my square footeage gives me the exemption under copyright law. Is this correct?
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.
Under SESAC exemptions, the exception is based on the size of the business and it applies only when the business plays an FCC licensed radio or TV station (or cable or satellite TV programming) where the originator of the programming has paid the appropriate fees. The business that takes advantage of this exception can’t charge an admission fee. And the business must fit in one of these categories:
If the business has less than 2,000 gross square feet (excluding parking – but the parking area must be just used for parking – so the area around the gas pumps or other actively used outside areas would probably count toward the 2,000 square feet);
Or, if it has more than 2,000 square feet then:
If the business only plays the radio, it can have no more than 6 total speakers, no more than 4 of which can be in one room (or adjoining outdoor space)
If the business plays TV, it can have no more than 4 TVs, none bigger than 55 inches (diagonal screen size), and no more than one in any room (and there can’t be more than 6 speakers providing the TV audio, with no more than 4 in any one room). If you are a “food service or drinking establishment” (bars and restaurant), the rules are a bit more lenient with the square footage in 1 and 2 above goes up to 3750 gross square feet, but the limits on the number of speakers and size of the TV screen are unchanged.
Also, under the copyright act, any business can be exempt from the royalties if they use ONLY one consumer-type audio or video player.