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Coffeeshop Blues.

So I come into work this morning here at Nani's Coffee to some rather disturbing news. We received a call from the ASCAP this morning. They informed us that they had reports that we were playing music covered by their agreement and that as such, we needed to pay them a yearly fee of nearly $600...

So the story goes thus: They apparently send representatives into clubs, bars, restaurants, and girl scout summer camps. All under cover, in attempts to find out of they are playing music for their customers that is protected by the ASCAP's listing of nearly 68,000 artists, composers, and publishers. If their representative hears music, he writes down the artist, time, and date, and reports it to the home office... In 1996 they went after a girl scout camp and won a yearly fee of $591...

edit:
ASCAP is a membership association of over 170,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide.


Ok, so what it comes down to in reference to us here at the coffeeshop is that we can't play the cd's that we already bought and paid for without paying another fee. The theory behind this is that since we are using the music in a business manner to affect the abiance of the business, and therefore gather more customers, that we should pay the artists whose music we are playing. They would want a yearly fee based on our squarefootage, number of speakers, and revenue.

This reeks of mafia-style extortion to me. I understand them asking a fee from clubs and karako bars. That makes sense. Those are places that people go to listen to the music specifically.

Here, I'll make an analogy:
Say we buy our coffee from a small local company that does all their own roasting and imports it from Brazil. Good. Fine. Now imagine how you would react if the farmer who grew that coffee in Brazil had a daughter... now imagine that daughter coming into your business and asking for a yearly fee because you were making money off of her father's coffee that you already paid for.

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So I come into work this morning here at Nani's Coffee to some rather disturbing news. We received a call from the ASCAP this morning. They informed us that they had reports that we were playing music covered by their agreement and that as such, we needed to pay them a yearly fee of nearly $600...

So the story goes thus: They apparently send representatives into clubs, bars, restaurants, and girl scout summer camps. All under cover, in attempts to find out of they are playing music for their customers that is protected by the ASCAP's listing of nearly 68,000 artists, composers, and publishers. If their representative hears music, he writes down the artist, time, and date, and reports it to the home office... In 1996 they <a href="http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html">went after a girl scout camp</a> and won a yearly fee of $591...

<i>edit:
ASCAP is a membership association of over 170,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide.</i>

Ok, so what it comes down to in reference to us here at the coffeeshop is that we can't play the cd's that we already bought and paid for without paying another fee. The theory behind this is that since we are using the music in a business manner to affect the abiance of the business, and therefore gather more customers, that we should pay the artists whose music we are playing. They would want a yearly fee based on our squarefootage, number of speakers, and revenue.

This reeks of mafia-style extortion to me. I understand them asking a fee from clubs and karako bars. That makes sense. Those are places that people go to listen to the music specifically.

Here, I'll make an analogy:
Say we buy our coffee from a small local company that does all their own roasting and imports it from Brazil. Good. Fine. Now imagine how you would react if the farmer who grew that coffee in Brazil had a daughter... now imagine that daughter coming into your business and asking for a yearly fee because you were making money off of her father's coffee that you already paid for.

<font size"+2">WHAT FUCKING SENSE DOES THAT MAKE?</font>

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I should just accept it like all the other little coffeeshops and restaurants around here do. Maybe I should be part of their $38million revenue for this year.... Mayb... Wait.. What the fuck? $38 million?! Yes, $38 Million. How many people is it that are already paying this bullshit fee just to be allowed to listen to music that they paid for.

Scare tactics do not work on me. I will not submit. I will not lie down and let the big Corporate world run down small business like this one. Fuck that. I am not a girl scout camp.

_X

Comments

digitalgoth
Nov. 22nd, 2003 01:35 am (UTC)
Re: aggregation for economic efficiency
The RIAA would like to take 16-20% of the total for administrative expenses, according to Simson. "Our goals is to keep [expenses] in line with other performing rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI," he says.

"History has shown that if administrative costs approach 20%, managers lose their heads," says Andrew Sanders, director of international legal and business affairs at ASCAP, which took 15.9% in administrative costs in 1999. ASCAP's percentage is less than BMI's, he said, which is around 18%.

The final administrative percentage will be negotiated at an upcoming Copyright Arbitration Rate Panel (CARP) proceeding, supervised by the U.S. Copyright Office.


Given an administrative cost of 15.9%, $63 million of that $400 million went to BMI and ASCAP. And that was just counting radio. That was not including the fees that they collected from clubs, bars, restaurants, live performances, webcasts, and television.

My estimate of $38 million was a little underrated. Sorry.

_X

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