Sony sues bar for copyright infringement

By Audrey Holsclaw | Sep 25, 2008

MORGANTOWN -- Does being aware of copyright infringement constitute liability? This is the central question in case against a Morgantown restaurant that has found itself in the middle of a copyright infringement case.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee has just approved the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act, Archie's Bar & Grill in Morgantown has been accused of infringing on several copyrights at a high price of between $750 and $30,000 per song by Sony/ATV Tunes, LLC, Mighty Underdog Music, David Matthews of Colden Gray, Ltd., WB Music Corp., Ain't Nothing but Funkin' Music, Elvis Mambo Music, TVT Music Enterprises, LLC, 50 Cent Music, Innocent Bystander, Write Treatage Music, and Universal Polygram International Publishing, Inc.

The above named companies are alleging seven counts of copyright infringement, stemming from live entertainment performed on Thursday nights at the famous biker bar. Those infringed compositions, performed by unnamed bands at Archie's, are "Before He Cheats," a Carrie Underwood song owned by Mighty Underdog Music and Sony/ATV Tunes; "Independence Day," a Gretchen Peters song owned by Sony/ATV Tunes; "Like A Virgin," a Madonna song owned by Sony/ATV Tunes; "Ants Marching," a David Matthews Band song owned by David Matthews of Colden Grey; "In Da Club," a 50 Cent song owned by WB Music Corp., Ain't Nothing but Funkin' Music, Music of Windswept, Blotter Music, and Elvis Mambo Music; "Candy Shop," another 50 Cent song owned by TVT Music Enterprises and 50 Cent Music; and "Black," a Pearl Jam song owned by Innocent Bystander, Write Treatage Music, and Universal Polygram International Publishing.

Filed on Sept. 3, the suit alleges that the plaintiffs sent numerous warning letters to Archie's Bar & Grill as well as its owners, also named as defendants, Steven and Linda Barnes.

Filed by Daniel Schuda of the Charleston firm of Schuda & Associates, the suit alleges that while the performances of these songs caused "great injury" to the plaintiffs, the damage it caused "cannot be accurately computed" or quantified to a specific dollar amount.

The plaintiffs also allege that the continuing performances of bands within the restaurant's walls will cause irreparable injury and suffering.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court because of the amount in controversy, which could be up to $210,000 not including attorney's fees or interest, and jurisdiction over copyright and intellectual property.

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to prevent any more public performances of the aforementioned songs, statutory damages up to $210,000, and litigation costs.

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