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St. Albans restaurant sued over music royalties

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A St. Albans restaurant and bar is among a growing list of small establishments across the country being sued for alleged copyright infringement by Broadcast Music Inc., an organization that collects public performance royalties on behalf of musicians.

Grumpy’s Waterfront Grille was named in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Charleston over the alleged unauthorized public performance of music. BMI claims that on July 25 and 26, 13 songs from the BMI Repertoire were played at Grumpy’s.

Grumpy’s owners haven’t paid BMI to be allowed to play music of which its members own the royalties, the lawsuit filed Oct. 2 says. The complaint also names Grumpy’s owners Jeremy Casebolt, John Lilly, Patrick Dunn and Jody Franco as defendants.

Casebolt said Monday he wasn’t aware of the lawsuit. He recalled being contacted by BMI several years ago.

“They said, ‘BMI represents certain songs and if you play these songs in your place you have to pay a fee.’ I thought it was a joke at first, but then I got a letter from them and did some research,” Casebolt said.

Casebolt said he remembered asking a BMI representatives to send him a list of songs that he couldn’t play at Grumpy’s without paying BMI first. BMI never did, he said, and he forgot about it…

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