A few years ago, Alex Pires made an offer that topped $1 million trying to get the Rolling Stones to play in Dewey Beach.
It was a long shot, but Pires, a partner in the Highway One LP that owns beach hot spots including the Rusty Rudder, tried his best to get close to the legendary band.
Earlier this week, Pires got his wish, but not in the way he envisioned, Delaware’s News Journal has revealed.
The Stones, along with a host of other artists including Elton, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Sting, are suing Highway One through Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), an organisation that collects licensing fees on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers.
The civil suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, alleges that Highway One, along with Pires, partner John Snow and former partner Jim Baeurle, infringed on the copyrights of the artists by playing their compositions without authorisation through recordings and performances by cover bands.
United States copyright law gives the copyright owners the exclusive right to publicly perform or authorise performances of their work.
A business owner is responsible for getting permission from the songwriter through a performance-rights clearinghouse like BMI prior to any public performance of copyrighted music, whether it be a recording from a CD or a live band.
The suit alleges that on three nights — November 24 and 25, 2006, and April 7, 2007 — 29 unauthorised numbers were played at the Rusty Rudder.
If Highway One is found guilty, statutory damages could range from $750 to $30,000 per song. With 29 songs in the lawsuit, the maximum could be $870,000. Highway One also could be ordered to pay BMI’s legal fees. If the violations are found to be willful, the fines could increase to a maximum of $150,000 per tune.
Pires and Baeurle had no comment.