Six months after raising the curtain on their gourmet coffee shop in the beachside Indian Harbour Place shopping center, Laurie and Jim Hall decided to offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The performers, normally duos, mainly covered songs written and made famous by other musicians. There was no cover charge, no pay for the musicians, no limit to how long patrons could sit on a couch with their coffee, playing chess and enjoying the music.So you see, it's really the audience who will be suffering. Smelly cat, oh smelly cat, what are they feeding you?
Then a few months later, music industry giant ASCAP started calling and sending letters saying East Coast Coffee & Tea was in violation of copyright laws. The fee to continue the music was $400 a year.... Six months later, other music copyright companies began calling the Halls and demanding money. Most days there would be three or four phone calls from each company, Hall said. Finally, unable to afford the fees, she had to call most of her musicians -- those who did not play original music -- and tell them they would not be allowed to continue performing.
[This} comes on the heels of a massive music industry crackdown during the past several years on illegal downloads from the Internet. Whether it's a professional recording taken from a Web site or an accordion player singing a Jimmy Buffet tune in a small venue, the industry is working to collect royalties for whoever wrote the songs.
Singer/songwriter Al Urezzio, who played at East Coast Coffee, said he recently lost his steady gig at the Getaway Lounge in Suntree because the owners were being asked to pay copyright fees as well. Now Urezzio, who performs as "Grumpy Al," is relegated to performing only his original compositions. That means his options on where to perform are limited. "This is really bull," said Urezzio, who owns the Burger Inn on U.S. 1 in Melbourne. "East Coast called and told me to only play originals from now on."
Monday, July 09, 2007
This is kind of amazing (from Florida Today):