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  • ChesterBrew
    replied
    Well, we're now open to the public. And within the first day or two some guy in a suit walks in and orders a flight and is just acting... I don't know how to put it... suspicious. Maybe I'm paranoid but I suspect he was a lawyer scoping us out, particularly since we're located in small enough of a community that a) I didn't recognize the guy; and b) He was behaving like a stranger in a strange land.

    After Russel's reply to my own inquiry, we aren't playing music during business hours but do use the port on the clock radio for charging our credit card reader iPhone/iPod units. The radio interferes with our LED lighting (we get noticeable static when they're on) so I just play music from my personal iPod when I'm cleaning and when we're not open to the public. We're way too small to handle performances in our place, so that's not an issue. And, truth be told, when we get 20+ bodies in the place it gets loud enough that you wouldn't be able to play music before it becomes a music/conversation decibel level arms race. Not worth it. Hell, we don't even offer wi-fi. And the screen resolution is amazing on the real world anyway.

    If for some reason we get some sort of boilerplate letter in the near future, I'll be sure to let y'all know. And my reply to any said letter will be epic, I assure you.

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  • rich24
    replied
    Update

    Thanks for the feedback and comments to you all.

    To give an update - I now have the Pandora for business service playing in the tap room. I don't have live music playing - the first and last time was not much of a turn out anyway. As far as I can see, I am in complete compliance. As for the BMIs and Ass-Caps of the world, I am up to 4 phone calls, 3 emails, and 2 letters. Since I can only mildly relate to this logic of collecting royalties, and did not appreciate the very first phone call that I received from these bottom feeders ending with a "you'll be hearing from our lawyers" - my approach is to provide no information whatsoever on my level of compliance. Really, they have no right to ask. If they want to spend the time, human resources, and money pursuing a very small brewery, be my guest. I'm keeping a tally of every attempt to shake me down and stress me out. It's a wasted effort on their behalf. Send goons - I'm sure they get paid by the hour. Yeah, maybe this all is dumb on my behalf, but if everyone stone walled them like this, it may change their approach. Right now, they are coming after the people who are the most vulnerable, because it's the path of least resistance. Not cool. Not right. My proposal for any brewery also just starting to receive threats, get yourself squared away, then let them spin their wheels. When I get ahead of the game and am in a better position to have live music and pay the "lawsuit insurance" fees to the PROs, I hope my irritation with them is gone. Right now, I'd rather pay a monthly fee to Pandora who actually provides something back. I'm just saying.

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  • Crosley
    replied
    Check there website. It's a simple formula based on frequency of music and seating capacity. I'm around $350 per year but my space is tiny


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Would any of you mind sharing how much you have had to pay BMI or others?

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  • GlacierBrewing
    replied
    We got nailed years ago by BMI, SEASAC, and ASCAP. We had a one-night-a-week open mic. This cause an avalance of letters with escalating hostility from these companies. They all have different artists in their portfolios so if you pay one, you should pay all. After all the calculations (based on our occupancy), that open mic night would end up costing us almost $20,000/year! Of course, we canned that idea. I went round and round with ASCAP, having several discussions with them. They DO send spies into your business. They call up and ask "Hey, do you guys have live music this weekend?", fishing for info. I'm also convinced they are sending out algorithms on the web to troll for "Live Music" posts.
    They will collect a fee if you are hosting live music, playing the TV, playing your ipod (mechanical music), playing a jukebox (charging to play mechanical music), or playing your local radio station (again, mechanical music) in your public spaces. Playing them in the kitchen or brewhouse for your employees seems to be okay.
    The bottom line is these songs and shows from the artists are copywrited works. You and I do not have the rights to allow a public performance of these copywrited acts for money or ambiance, which they will say leads to customers spending more money.
    It does suck but I can see their point. If some bar in my area started selling t-shirts with my brewery's logo or beer labels on them, you can bet your ass I would sick a lawyer on them pretty damn fast.
    We have cut out all live music because it is just does not bring in enough revenue to make the headache worthwhile.
    We do use XMforbusiness which pays a fee to the rights management companies for our usage.

    Prost!
    Dave

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  • claponsie
    replied
    Originally posted by ChesterBrew View Post
    So, Russell, what I hear you saying is that my 1,400 s.f. (total floor area; public space is less than 700 s.f.) Tasting Room building that only has an iPod dual speaker base station setup is probably good to go w/o a license fee?
    You need to make sure you have the rights to play the music you play over the iPod base station. Owning a song for personal use does not permit you to broadcast it in a public setting or place of business. In the beginning, we opted to go with a TouchTunes jukebox because it cost us nothing out of pocket. Recently, I had that removed and I now believe that juke boxes aren't worth the trouble they cause in a taproom. However, the Pandora (for business), is legit. We use that, and Pandora owns the rights to the music, so you're good. There are some limitations, like how many times you can skip a song per hour.

    Went round and round with BMI, because for a period of time, our musicians played originals. You have to pay them if you have live music. If your musicians play cover songs, then they are turning profit off from material they do not own, and so are you with the additional beer sales.

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  • yap
    replied
    Yeah, I've never understood how it's MY problem if a musician plays a song they don't have the rights to play. They are technically the one violating the copyright, but somehow I have to pay the penalty.

    To me it's kin to suing a gun manufacturer because you got shot by some idiot during a robbery, while letting the robber himself go free...

    Commercial Pandora is only $25 a month and you don't have to listen to commercials so that's all we do now.

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  • I H8 UM
    replied
    Its time for musicians to be licensed.

    I wish we could only hire licensed musicians. Let them pay the fees since they decide what music they are going to play. If a musician had to be licensed for a public performance, there would be fewer musicians and the licensed ones could charge more. If they play a song that they aren't licensed for, they pay the fine. It works for my doctor and plumber. Musicians I have talked to love this idea.

    Leave a comment:


  • Junkyard
    replied
    We paid up, and decided if we're going to pay money to these bastards we might as well have live music almost every night of the week.. So that's what we do now.

    Leave a comment:


  • ChesterBrew
    replied
    Originally posted by Bainbridge View Post
    Yes..and no. ... It's a hate the playa and the game kinda situation.
    Thank you, friend I've never met. Great insight. You write like I wish I could talk... visit us if ever in the area.

    Leave a comment:


  • briangaylor
    replied
    Originally posted by TGTimm View Post
    Yeah, BM, Inc. and ASSHAT are know to actually send out "ringers"--spies and provocateurs--to do exactly what you mention. Another place here in town got hit that way--made a request, got a recording and video, called the proprietor and threatened to sue unless he paid up.

    [rant]
    With the huge extensions of copyright in the last few decades--it was 25 years, not inheritable or renewable, and is now 75 years and can be inherited and renewed--how can anything even be considered "original"? Look at the "Birthday Song" fiasco, or any of the numerous suits now being pursued based on a single "riff" being plagiarized! Just how many cord progressions are possible within the limits of what we call music? How many ways to construct a paragraph in English? How long until creativity is illegal (there was a sci-fi short written about this exact thing--nothing had been written for a century because it was all covered by copyright--back, I think, in the '50s)?

    Then there's patent law--Apple can patent the round corner?

    This began with the US Congress, and can only be fixed by the US Congress.
    [/rant]

    Have you seen the movie Idiocracy? It was supposed to be a comedy but im starting to think it was a documentary about 10 years ahead of its time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bainbridge
    replied
    Originally posted by ChesterBrew View Post
    So, Russell, what I hear you saying is that my 1,400 s.f. (total floor area; public space is less than 700 s.f.) Tasting Room building that only has an iPod dual speaker base station setup is probably good to go w/o a license fee?
    Yes..and no. You can play the radio. Or TV. But if you're playing your own 'Totally Rad MP3 Summer Playlist 2016' off your iPod or something then no. Or a non-commercial version of internet radio like the free normal Pandora, or a full album vid off Youtube, etc.. No to those. You do run into some interesting arguments. For example, we have horrible radio and cell signal here. So I would argue that playing the livestream off our fantastic Seattle independent radio station KEXP, www.kexp.org, is the same as listening to the 'radio'.

    And they will send spies to check in. They will sit at your bar. Order a beer. Make polite conversation. Then sneak a photo of that iPhone your staff plugged into the stereo back there. Then they'll send a letter with a copy of that photo and say pay up. If you don't they will sue, and they will promptly win.

    It's a hate the playa and the game kinda situation.
    Last edited by Bainbridge; 03-17-2016, 01:45 PM.

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  • TGTimm
    replied
    Yeah, BM, Inc. and ASSHAT are know to actually send out "ringers"--spies and provocateurs--to do exactly what you mention. Another place here in town got hit that way--made a request, got a recording and video, called the proprietor and threatened to sue unless he paid up.

    [rant]
    With the huge extensions of copyright in the last few decades--it was 25 years, not inheritable or renewable, and is now 75 years and can be inherited and renewed--how can anything even be considered "original"? Look at the "Birthday Song" fiasco, or any of the numerous suits now being pursued based on a single "riff" being plagiarized! Just how many cord progressions are possible within the limits of what we call music? How many ways to construct a paragraph in English? How long until creativity is illegal (there was a sci-fi short written about this exact thing--nothing had been written for a century because it was all covered by copyright--back, I think, in the '50s)?

    Then there's patent law--Apple can patent the round corner?

    This began with the US Congress, and can only be fixed by the US Congress.
    [/rant]
    Last edited by TGTimm; 03-17-2016, 01:28 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • rich24
    replied
    The research that I've been doing seems to be that the music must be coming off of the radio. Nothing off the internet. If it's internet driven, then a 'for business' service is needed to CYA.

    There's something not right about it though - the tactics. Trolling social media, calling up and threatening a lawsuit, yet not knowing anything about your business. Its like a mob shakedown. When I was a kid, they used to call it glass insurance. The woman who called me said 'well how do you know every song is original?' There was a story online of their goons going to a place that had weekly keraoke with a voice recorder, requested songs that they hold copyrights to, then using the recording as proof to sue. In the case of breweries, its like artists going after craftsmen. Sorry to all - just venting. But right now I don't have $1000+ to cover every base - the new tap room and expanded brewery is just getting off the ground - so no live music. Just Pandora Business account.

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  • briangaylor
    replied
    Originally posted by TGTimm View Post
    I'm not sure that commercial radio stations would get you out of this blackmail. They seem to consider any and all music played in a for-profit space to be fair game.

    Basterds. I doubt the artists ever see a cent of the money these creeps extort from businesses.

    Oh well. We shut up and pay up--live music is a huge draw, especially in the warmer months when it's outside.

    One local establishment does get away without paying by hosting singer-songwriter events--the artists sign statements saying that all the music they play is original with no other claims to it. Not sure how they rigged this, but they may be mobbed up themselves.

    When I say 'commercial radio' I mean things like the professional version of pandora where they use the fees to pay the licensing agencies. I am assuming that I am free to broadcast the commercial version of pandora as I see fit.

    As for TV... I think I am limited to 55in or smaller and 4 or less speakers. As long as I follow those 2 rules I can show anything I want from my comcast commercial TV subscription.


    Hope these assumptions are right!

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