Court holds restaurant owner liable for copyright infringement
In a case that might have implications for many businesses, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a restaurant owner could be held liable for copyright infringement for music played in the restaurant. In Range Road Music v. East Coast Foods, 668 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir. 2012), the Defendant owned a restaurant where live bands played and where music was played on a CD player. The Plaintiff owned various songs that were available for license under ASCAP. The Defendant declined the Plaintiff’s offer to license the songs under ASCAP and the Plaintiff sued.
The court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff and awarded the Plaintiff $36,000 in damages and over $160,000 in attorney’s fees and costs. The court reasoned that the Defendant profited from the bands’ copyright infringement and took no steps to stop or limit the infringement. Because the Defendant owned the restaurant, it exercised control over the performances and benefitted from the bands performances.
If you have questions about this or other copyright issues, please contact Jason E. Voyles.