If you thought the five-figure fines for Internet users who pirate music were bad, the $40,000 that Fosters American Grille in Raleigh, N.C. recently paid for playing copyrighted music will hardly surprise you. Broadcast Music Incorporated successfully sued Fosters for playing music by Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and other artists without paying a direct licensing fee. BMI says that it called the restaurant 56 times, mailed 29 letters and sent management a bill for $6,060 a year to license the music; all of BMI's attempts to contact management failed.
John Powers and Ralph Nelson, the owners of the now-closed Fosters American Grille must pay $30,450 in fees and $10,700 in attorneys' fees. Copyright attorney Rick Matthews told WRAL that Powers said the restaurant's closure had nothing to do with the BMI lawsuit.