California Nightclub Ordered to Pay ASCAP Members $85,000 for Copyright Infringement


Judge Adds Copyright Owners' Legal Fees to Statutory Damages Award

New York, NY, October 2, 2006: Owners of a California nightclub have been ordered to pay $85,545.2 to members of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, as a result of the latest decision in a copyright infringement case begun more than a year ago.

United States District Judge William B. Shubb of the Eastern District of California, who had found in favor of members of ASCAP in an earlier copyright infringement decision, has added attorney fees to his initial statutory damages award. This judgment requires the owners of the Roseville, CA Owl Club Ale House to pay more than 65 times the nominal fee they could have paid if they had accepted ASCAP's initial offer of a license.

According to ASCAP Senior Vice President of Legal Services, Richard Reimer, "The defendants, the owners of the Owl Club, consistently ignored the obligations imposed on them by the Copyright Law and refused to respect the property of the ASCAP members whose copyrighted music was being used without permission. To make matters worse, one of the owners threatened physical abuse to those representing ASCAP.

ASCAP first contacted the Owl Club in August 2003. The Club's owners continually refused to discuss their obligations to obtain permission or a license to perform copyrighted music lawfully in their club. In addition, in August 2004, when an ASCAP licensing representative went to the Owl Club to try to meet with its owners, one of them verbally abused the ASCAP representative and threatened him with bodily harm.

Vincent Candilora, ASCAP Senior Vice President of Licensing added, "ASCAP represents the smallest of small business owners, the self employed songwriter or composer. We do everything possible to inform and educate those using music in the promotion of their business about Federal Copyright law. Legal action is always our last step. In this case, we accelerated our intervention because of the threat of physical danger posed by the club owner. While it is gratifying to receive this favorable judgment, it is not at all surprising. ASCAP members have the Federal Copyright Law on their side."

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