Photo courtesy of Bamboula's / Facebook

Bamboula’s being sued by ASCAP for not paying songwriters

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has filed copyright infringement actions against 13 music venues across the country for “unauthorized public performance of its members’ copyrighted musical works.”

Bamboula’s is on that list of venues which ASCAP says hasn’t done due diligence in acquiring proper licensing, effectively not paying musicians for their original works performed by someone else.

As a membership association representing approximately 700,000 independent songwriters, composers and music publishers, ASCAP “ensures its members can earn a living from their art by licensing the public performances of their songs, collecting those license fees, and distributing royalties to its members. Nearly 88% of the license fees ASCAP collects go directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers as royalties.”

ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing, Stephanie Ruyle, says, “When you see a patron at your business bobbing their head along to the music, you see firsthand the value music can add to any environment. Music plays a key role in creating an emotional connection with customers; hundreds of thousands of businesses understand that and accept that a music license is part of the cost of doing business. Our goal is to have businesses comply with the law so that our members can be compensated for use of their work. The establishments sued today have decided not to pay songwriters. By filing these actions, ASCAP is standing up for songwriters whose creative work brings great value to all businesses that publicly perform their music.

ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President, songwriter Paul Williams added: “We want every business that uses music to prosper, including bars and restaurants. After all, as songwriters and composers, we are small business owners, too, and music is more than an art form for us. It’s how we put food on the table and send our kids to school. Most businesses know that an ASCAP license allows them to offer music legally, efficiently and at a reasonable price – while compensating music creators so we can earn a living from our work and keep doing what we do best – writing music.”

According to a press release, “ASCAP has made numerous attempts” to offer licensing and information about federal copyright law to the venues in question. The organization alleges that the venue owners have “refused to take or honor a license…Instead, they have continued to perform the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members for the entertainment of their patrons without obtaining permission to do so.

The venues in question are:

  • Bamboula’s, New Orleans, LA
  • Carlos O’charlies, Baltimore, MD
  • Cask Social Kitchen, Tampa FL
  • Flamingo Resort, Saint Petersburg, FL
  • The Fur Shop, Tulsa, OK
  • HonkyTonk Saloon, Ladson, SC
  • Houndstooth Saloon, Chicago, IL
  • J & M Café, Seattle, WA
  • Lone Star Bar, Wichita Falls, TX
  • Nook Amphitheater, Austin, TX
  • Platforms Dance Club, Boca Raton, FL
  • Roccapulco, San Francisco, CA
  • surfer [The Bar], Jacksonville Beach, FL

More information about ASCAP’s licensing of bars, restaurants and music venues can be found on ASCAP’s website at: