State Rep. Kevin Van De Wege has introduced HB 1763
, which would slightly mitigate the arbitrary steamrolling tactics and complete unaccountability of the Music Mafia: BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers.
Van De Wege introduced HB 1763 after talking with the owner of The Oasis Bar and Grill in Sequim. The above-mentioned music enforcers have tried to extort almost $9,000 from The Oasis Bar and Grill for copyright infringement, i.e. featuring live or recorded music at the nightclub.
Van De Wege's bill would require music licensing companies to file with the Washington Secretary of State and pay an annual fee of $1,500. This money would be used for a consumer alert campaign to make sure club owners who feature music know their rights and responsibilities when dealing with music licensing companies. Van De Wege said:
“Live music venues are being unfairly targeted by New York and
Tennessee-based licensing companies that force payments at random,
threaten business owners, and seemingly vanish once they receive
payment. By regulating their activity and verifying
their claim to certain performing rights, we’re protecting small
businesses all across the state and generating revenue to make sure
these venues know their rights.”
The owner of The Oasis Bar and Grill said:
“In the end the fees that they sought made music not viable for our
business. Nobody wins and one thing that is certain, no one buys music
that they can’t hear.”