Saturday, March 13, 2010

Facing the Music; Pittsburgh City Paper, 3/11/10

Andy Mulkerin, Pittsburgh City Paper; Facing the Music:

"Last June 28 wasn't an especially noteworthy night at Howlers Coyote Café. It was the monthly Sunday Night Hayride -- a country show hosted by Howlers regulars The Beagle Brothers that typically features a guest band or two.

"The featured act was a band from West Virginia -- nobody really knew them," recalls Jo Albright, the Bloomfield club's booking manager. "They proceeded to do about two hours' worth of covers. And they did them badly."

Even worse, among the sparse crowd that night was an undercover representative of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), a rights and licensing agency for songwriters. And although the music eventually stopped, for Albright and bar-owner Susan Coe, the headaches had just begun.

Later in the summer, BMI served Coe with a federal complaint alleging seven counts of copyright infringement. Among the songs the agent heard that night, seven apparently belonged to artists covered by BMI, who demanded the bar pay for the rights on that music.

That complaint was the culmination a seven-year dispute between BMI and the bar."

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