CULLMAN, Alabama — A music publishing company is fuming at an Alabama barbecue restaurant, claiming the restaurant infringed the copyrights of nine songs that were played nearly three years ago.
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The lawsuit, filed by BMI in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama on June 25, claims Moe’s BBQ in Cullman committed “willful copyright infringement” with the classic songs, allowing “the unauthorized public performance of musical compositions from the BMI repertoire”. .”
The songs included hits from Elton John, Toby Keith, Bill Withers and Three Dog Night.
All nine songs were performed on October 10, 2019, according to court documents.
According to the lawsuit, the songs involved are “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “American Pie”, “Bennie and the Jets”, “Inside Out”, “Never Been to Spain”, “Broken Wing”, “Courtesy of the Rouge , white and blue”, “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” and “Gunpowder and Lead”.
This is BMI’s second lawsuit against Moe’s, AL.com reported.
A similar lawsuit was filed in the same federal court on February 11, 2020, but was dismissed the following month at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Documents from the time indicated there was an option for BMI to file later, the news agency reported.
BMI says that since August 2018, its representatives have attempted to contact Tyler Schuman and Justin Gilley, the owners of the barbecue franchise, more than 70 times by phone, mail and email, WIAT-TV reported.
BMI, which owns the licensing rights to more than 18.7 million songs, said it wants to contact Schuman and Gilley “for the purpose of advising the defendants of their obligations under copyright law,” according to court documents.
“We want music to benefit everyone, which is why we spend so much time educating businesses about the value music brings to their business, the requirements of copyright law, and the importance of retain a music license,” the BMI rep told WIAT. an email. “Most establishments recognize this and choose to play music because they understand the value it adds to their business and the mood it creates for their customers.”
Companies wishing to play music in the “BMI Directory” can go to the company’s website to learn more about licensing. Costs can be as low as $378 per year, but can run into the thousands depending on the type of business, the frequency of music played and the number of people on site, WIAT reported.
Attempts by AL.com and WIAT to reach the restaurant owners for comment were unsuccessful.
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