Songwriters’ association sues Peoria venue | News

By Kylie Werner, Peoria Times Staff Writer
5 Min Read

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is suing The Cabin Whiskey and Grill for using its members’ copyright music without a license. In accordance with the Copyright Act, ASCAP is intending to provide legal support to its artists.

“There are a number of rights that are protected under the copyright law to help ensure that creator’s content — whether it’s music or paintings or photography or whatever media — are able to control access to and profit from the use of their work,” said Jackson Wagener, senior vice president of business and legal affairs for ASCAP. “What that means is you can’t perform someone’s music without first getting their permission to do so.” 

ASCAP is a membership association that represents 960,000 songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers. They license the right to perform more than 19 million works within a variety of businesses. These include live music venues, bars, restaurants, internet radio, interactive and noninteractive streaming websites, local radio, commercials and television. 

ASCAP operates not-for-profit. The license fees it collects amount to 90 cents of every dollar, which is then distributed back to the members. 

“So, any type of business that wants to use music can come to ASCAP and get a license to perform all the music that is owned and controlled by our members,” Wagener said. 

“We actually go out and proactively contact venues and establishments like The Cabin that are performing music, and when we contact those venues, we explain to the owners their obligation under copyright law to pay for the performance of creators’ music.” 

Along with licensing their artists’ music, ASCAP protects those assets from infringement. If a suspected location is using ASCAP-licensed songs, the organization will send a private investigator to report any violations. 

“Songwriters earn their livelihood through licensing the rights that are granted to them, and it’s their way to ensure that they’re able to continue to make the music that they do,” Wagener said. “So, through obtaining a license early, you’re doing two things. You’re making sure that you are complying with obligations under the law, but even more importantly, you’re ensuring that fair compensation is being paid to the creator for the use of their music. 

“It also helps ensure that those people that write the music we know and love can keep doing that.”  

Wagener said ASCAP views litigation as a last resort and added that after it has sued, the hope is to get the venue’s attention and work out an amicable settlement if possible. 

“We’re trying to accomplish a few things. First is to get the venue license on a going-forward basis,” Wagener said. 

“The second is to ensure that compensation is paid for the period of time when the venue is unlicensed. And generally, we also attempt to recover the costs and fees that we’re forced to expend in handling these actions. … It’s not our goal at all to put anybody out of business. We just want to ensure that our members are being properly paid and recognized for the importance of their contribution.” 

Wagener said that ASCAP’s mission is to license all the venues that are using its members’ music and ensure that the business is not only protected under the law but supporting creators. 

“By filing these actions and by trying to license the venues that are performing music, our goal is always to support the creators to put money in their pockets and to make sure that they make it and write the next song,” Wagener said. 

The Cabin Whiskey and Grill did not respond to requests for an interview. 

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By Kylie Werner, Peoria Times Staff Writer , – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article , 2024-04-01 07:00:00
Tags: american society of composers, the cabin whiskey and grill, peoria news, glendale breaking news, peoria breaking news j, ackson wagener, the copyright act

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