No law against singing covers: Lawsuit confuses Lez fans |

No law against singing covers: Lawsuit confuses Lez fans

JOEL STONINGTONpitkin county correspondent

A lawsuit against a nightclub in Vail, with plaintiffs such as Van Halen and Jimmy Page, has confused fans of cover bands such as Lez Zeppelin.Following the lawsuit, many thought it was the fault of the band that the plaintiffs sued the 8150 club in Vail. The lawsuit lists songs the band sang at the club as incidences of copyright infringement. Steph Paynes, lead guitarist for Lez Zeppelin, said it’s up to each individual club to pay the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for the right to have public performances of cover songs. “It’s the clubs responsibility no matter who they have in their club,” Paynes said. “Anyone who gets up at an open mic and sings a Bob Dylan song, it’s all the same thing.”A random survey of Summit County club owners yielded a repetitive response paying music licensing fees is a part of owning a club or bar.”It’s one of those things you just pay, like your taxes,” Salt Creek Club owner Maggie Manley said.Kim Kuliga, a spokeswoman for Belly Up in Aspen, said it’s standard for every club to pay dues to the organization. She said Belly Up has paid the dues since opening and that it applies to music from a CD just as it applies to live music. “The fees are just industry standard. It’s part of your overhead,” Kuliga said. “It’s monthly, but the fees vary based on live music or music that’s already recorded. No one really knows how they work out the pricing.”First established in 1914, ASCAP collects royalties from clubs and other organizations putting on live music. It represents a repertory of more than 8 million musical works. In 2006, the organization collected a record $680 million in royalty payments.

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