BMI Sues Michigan Night Club Owner for Copyright Infringement

Sep 21, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
A Michigan nightclub owner has been sued for allegedly playing a Weezer song and other music without proper licenses.

Major music label BMI recently filed a lawsuit against Grand Rapids, Michigan, night club owner Mark London, alleging London committed copyright infringement by playing music in his club without paying licensing fees.

According to the suit, the songs "Say It Ain't So," by Weezer, "Ignition," by R. Kelly, and "You Know I'm No Good," by Amy Winehouse were played at London's Lady Godiva's Showgirls night club on September 27, 2010, when London did not have a license to do so.

In the suit, BMI says it owns public performance rights to about 6.5 million copyrighted tunes and is caused "great and incalculable damage" when the compositions are played without authorization, according to the Grand Rapids Press.

London told WZZM that he attempted to license the music, but BMI rejected his payments because they were for the amount charged to night clubs, but he said Lady Godiva's is an adult entertainment venue, for which licensing rates are higher.

To comply with Grand Rapids law, Lady Godiva's is not a topless bar, London told WZZM. He described the club as "PG-13."

BMI's licensing document defines an adult entertainment establishment as one that "provides adult entertainment such as, but not limited to, striptease, erotic, nude or semi-nude performances, and includes, but is not limited to, burlesque houses, gentlemen's clubs, strip clubs, go-go bars and similar establishments."