Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Ohio

Music for my coffeehouse

I currently have satellite radio for my coffeehouse. I am not satisfied with the music offered and want to change. Can I play music purchased from iTunes? I am finding conflicting information about this online. I don't understand why a DJ can play music he owns for a crowd, and I may not be able to do the same in my coffeehouse.

Asked on 2/23/09, 7:36 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Anderson Anderson Business Law LLC

Re: Music for my coffeehouse

Public performance royalties are paid to songwriters or their publishing company for use of their songs by radio stations, restaurants, bars, TV / cable networks, retailers, online services or any other establishment that plays / streams licensed music heard by the general public. These royalties are collected by the major performing rights organizations, ASCAP, BMI or SESAC and distributed to the songwriter’s publishing company. Most music users obtain a blanket license from the performing rights organizations versus licensing individual tracks. The performing rights organizations play an important role for both artists and those wanting to license music by acting as a central clearinghouse for licensing and collecting royalties since it would be virtually impossible for those wanting to use the music to arrange licensing deals with each individual artist or publisher.

Licensing fees from the performing rights organizations range from hundreds of dollars per year for a small club to millions of dollars per for a TV network. Public performance royalties are calculated using several variables and are paid to the songwriter or their publishing company. Record companies and recording artists do not receive royalties from public performances.

Songwriters can register their works online with one of the performing rights organizations in order to receive compensation for their work.


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Answered on 2/23/09, 7:54 am

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