Casino sued for music
NASHUA – The owners of Boston Billiards Club & Casino, Eeskay NH Inc. and its principal, Kurt Mathias, are heading for a federal copyright infringement trial because music publishers claim the business used their material without a license.
Eeskay and Kurt Mathias are named in the lawsuit brought by seven musical publishing companies, all members of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, or ASCAP. The publishers claim their songs were played at Boston Billiards, despite the company not having an active license with the ASCAP.
The lawsuit is slated to begin a bench trial before Judge Steven McAuliffe in U.S. District Court in Concord on Sept. 18. Eeskay’s attorney, Peter Tamposi, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, nor did Daniel Mullen, the attorney representing the music publishers.
The publishers are looking for up to $30,000 in damages for each song. For example, if one song was played one time, the publishers are seeking up to $30,000 for the alleged violation.
The songs in question are: “Too Close” first recorded in 1997 by the R&B group Next, “I Like To Move It,” first recorded in 1993 by Reel 2 Real, and “100% Pure Love,” first recorded in 1994 by Crystal Waters.
Eeskay’s attorney, Peter Tamposi, writes in a pretrial motion that while his client did allow for the playing of three songs controlled by the publishers during a February 2015 event at the Northeastern Boulevard club, the company should not have to pay the fine amounts being sought by the publishers.
“Here the Defendants license fees are $5,868.00 and a fair assessment of damages in excess of the licenses fee would be similar,” Tamposi wrote.
Tamposi writes that the ASCAP harassed Mathias for years because of his lack of a license. Mathias did not play any copyrighted music in the club for years, Tamposi writes, but a DJ used the songs during the February 2015 event. That was the same night that the ASCAP sent an investigator into Boston Billiards to check on the situation, according to court records.
The ASCAP is “a membership association that represents, licenses, and protects the public performance rights of its more than 600,000 songwriter, composer, and music publisher members,” according to the lawsuit first filed in the U.S. District Court in Concord.
“Each ASCAP member grants to ASCAP a non-exclusive right to license the performing rights in that member’s copyrighted musical compositions. On behalf of its members, ASCAP licenses public performances of its members’ musical works, collects license fees associated with those performances, and distributes royalties to its members, less ASCAP’s operating expenses.”
Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DF.