Wednesday, October 18, 2006

ASCAP busts Imbibe

Urban Wineworks, Radcliffe next on ASCAP's lawsuits of restaurants having musicians play cover versions. : Everything Oregon: " Restaurant owner says songs may cost him his business

Posted by The Oregonian Newsroom October 9, 2006 10:42
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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 Composers, Authors 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."


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