Arts Desk

BMI Sues Rock & Roll Hotel for Copyright Infringement

Music rights organization BMI, on behalf of 16 copyright holders, has filed a civil suit against the Rock & Roll Hotel and its owner, Joe Englert, for alleged copyright infringement.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in D.C.'s U.S. District Court, alleges that the Rock & Roll Hotel violated 12 copyrights by playing pop music in the club without a BMI public-performance license.

The songs Rock & Roll is allegedly not properly licensed to play? Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," The Four Seasons' "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You," Madonna's "Holiday," and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," among others. The suit claims that all of those songs were played in the club between 2011 and 2012.

Englert says he's not worried, and this should blow over soon enough. "We have no issue with BMI and 100 percent agree with licensing. It's just a matter of a bill going missing between two rather large entities. Contact has been made and this should be satisfied within a matter of days."

The plaintiffs' attorney is on his honeymoon and could not be reached for comment. See the lawsuit, below.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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