On Sunday, The Gazette published an article about LeShawn Carey of Carey-On Saloon in Colorado Springs. Carey was recently fined $21,000 for copyright infringement on songs that were sung during karaoke at her bar near Peterson Air Force Base.
It started with a night of fun and Toby Keith songs. A few weeks later, Carey was fined for not having permission to play Keith's music in her establishment. Since the story was published on Gazette.com, it has drawn close to 200 comments, with about another 50 on Facebook. The story has been shared more than 100 times on social media.
Here's some of the reaction:
"'Penalties for copyright violations are set by federal law,' - that's the part I have a problem with right there. I can almost guarantee that Toby Keith would not have minded soldiers singing his songs - Just more government control. GRRRRR"
"I can't say much one way or another about how well the organizations are functioning. However, the basic idea that they are enforcing their members' property rights is a sound one. Artists deserved to get paid for their work, especially when businesses are making money off of it. Also, in some instances failure to do so can result in the loss of those exclusive rights. I would like to know if a cease and desist (so called "fixit") letter was done."
"Seems like it is the only way they make money, by giving out heavy fines. When you only fine 250 people a year as the article says, you can't make any money off of a fine that would be fair. I think it seems like they are only targeting certain establishments and not checking them all out. So yes this fine is excessive and I hope LeShawn Carey gets a good lawyer to fight it."
"I worked in a restaurant and we also had this rule. I found it so so dumb. They should at least give you a warning or for first time offenders, a much smaller fine."
"As a musician, I see both sides. However, if my music was being played, and I wasn't receiving my royalty check, I would be a little upset. No matter who you are, you need permission to use my music unless it's in a home setting. That's just how the law works for the musician. It's there to protect our rights. We spend countless hours creating, recording, and promoting our music, therefore need people like BMI, ASCAP and others on our side."
"A mob racket backed by the government. Of all those fines the thugs collected, one wonders if more than a few pennies, if anything, went to Toby Keith."