Restaurant owner says songs may cost him his business
Posted by The Oregonian Newsroom October 9, 2006 10:42 Print | Email
A performance of the Jimi Hendrix classic, "The Wind Cries Mary," may cost Michael Dorr his restaurant.
Dorr, the 37-year-old owner of Imbibe on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, has been slapped with a federal lawsuit by companies that own the rights to a trio of popular classics that were performed at Dorr's restaurant in 2005.
The songs at the center of the suit?
Other than the Hendrix song, the music companies say Stevie Wonder's "That Girl," and a 1971 tune, "Slippin' into Darkness."
Dorr says a rep from the American Society of Musicians and Publishers paid an unannounced visit to his restaurant one night and heard covers of the songs performed by local band "Black Notes."
Because his place features local musicians and covers are rare, he didn't think he had to pay the musicians and publishers group an estimated $2,000 to cover performances of copyrighted tunes.
But the owners of the songs, including Wonder and Hendrix's estate, say he does.
Now they're suing Dorr for copyright infringement - and they're seeking payment of between $750 and $30,000 for each song, along with attorney fees.
"It's basically going to bankrupt me and put me out of business," Dorr said this morning. "I can't afford the lawyer and the fees. It's going to close me down."
The married father of two, who opened Imbibe a couple of years ago, said bands typically start playing after 10. But after Friday, the restaurant will do without live music because of the lawsuit.
"It's a total bummer," he said. "It's scary for me and my family. The restaurant business is hard and on top of other things, business is slow. This is the icing on the cake."
im so sick of the music industry. if you wanna make money then put on lots of live shows and be good at it. i cant beleive people pay these pop asswipes money for their crap. and go to thir shows to hear the cd they already own played note for note. put on live shows. experiment, jam, do it well and youll make money. why the hell should musicians be millionaires. i love bands like ekoostik hookah who are completly happy to be making a modest living doing what they love. id rather see hookah headline roo and play petty tunes all jammed out then watch petty do a greatest hits set the way they sound right off the radio. im glad i saw him but he shouldnt have headlined. the whole indutry is out of contorl. i wish people would just quit buying that nuts and it would go away. lars and bob weir and these idiots suing over covers should take a long walk off a short pier. if you want more money play more shows.
although hopefully bobby manages to swim back to shore so i can see him at 10klf and gotv. i wish phil was playing instead but ill take dead where i can get it.
and while im biching whats up woith the cost of music cds. we all know how much they cost. we buy 100 of them for 12 bucks. quit spending 30 million dollars to produce complete piles of shi t and charge a reasonable 5 dollars for cd's and you might do better.
I've heard of this. You're supposed to pay dues to that organization to cover playing recorded music in your venue. So if you play CDs in your bar, you could be fined like this. I didn't realize it applied to cover songs too.