BMI, the famous music licensing company, has filed multiple lawsuits against 12 bars and restaurants across the country, claiming that none of the businesses have paid licensing fees to play its songs.
BMI claims that for every song played without a licensing fee being paid first, the company could claim up to $150,000 under the U.S. Copyright Act. The fine is enough to put a small business like Whiskey Bones in Rochester, Minn., one of the bars targeted, out of business.
The lawsuits are seen as an attempt to teach music piraters a lesson.
A record of BMI’s lawsuit history revealed that the company generally receives a settlement, collecting thousands of dollars per violated song, whereas occupancy fees for venues only cost about $5 a person.
Attorneys and a spokesperson for BMI declined to comment.