Karaoke crashers: Group says bar violated US copyright law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A national songwriters’ organization filed lawsuits against a handful of bars nationwide this week for failing to pay fees to use copyrighted music, including songs played at a Missouri bar during karaoke night.

The lawsuits aren’t a new tactic by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Jackson Wagener, ASCAP’s vice president for business and legal affairs, says the group typically files about 40 such complaints a year to push establishments to pay licensing fees that largely go to songwriters. Wagener says lawsuits are a last resort.

ASCAP’s other lawsuits filed Wednesday were against bars in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas.