Los Angeles, CA – Copyright attorneys for several plaintiffs, including Sony and Gwen Stefani, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles accusing Alhambra based Havana House Cigars & Lounge of publicly performing copyrighted music without a license from ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. The complaint alleges that on January 11, 2008, presumably when their investigator was at the Lounge, and on several occasions thereafter, the five copyrighted musical compositions were publicly played and performed. Plaintiffs assert that the Lounge will continue to publicly play and perform these songs unless it is enjoined by the Court.
The complaint alleges that ASCAP, on behalf of the copyright owners, contacted the defendant and informed him that a copyright license was needed in order to publicly perform the copyrighted music at the Lounge. The defendant, however, has allegedly not agreed to pay for the license and has continued to play the songs at issue. Plaintiffs request statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1), of not more than $30,000.00 and not less than $750.00 for each copyrighted song. Plaintiffs also request that the court order the defendant to pay the costs of the lawsuit and reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505. The case is titled: Sony/ATV Harmony v. Alfred Campano, CV08-03947 PA (C.D. Cal. 2008).
PRACTICE NOTE: 17 U.S.C. 504(c)(2) provides an increase in the statutory damages to $150,000.00 per infringement if it is deemed to be intentional. Also, if a restaurant or public establishment unreasonably believed that it was exempt from licensing requirements under 17 U.S.C. § 110(5), the copyright plaintiff, in addition to other damages under section 504, will be entitled to two times the license fee which it should have paid for the preceding three-year period. Because of the varying affiliations between record companies and the licensing societies, a license from each of the following licensing societies must be obtained to cover the music owned by the various recording companies:
ASCAP: 1-800-505-4052 BMI: 1-800-925-8451 SESAC: 1-800-826-9996