There are many factors that come into play when setting up the mood for a restaurant. Owners need to consider decor, lighting, layout, and perhaps most important, music. No matter what type of restaurant you operate, the music can go a long way to setting the appropriate mood. Whether you have an Irish pub that regularly features live music, a formal dinner restaurant with soft and romantic music, or a small diner playing some oldies, the musical choice can affect your business significantly. For restaurant owners who fail to pay attention to the copyright laws, it can also have a very detrimental effect on your operation, and cause trouble should you fail to observe the rights of a music artist.
Keep Copyright in Mind
When music is created, it is the intellectual property of the artists, which means that it cannot be used or duplicated without permission. Though you may want to improve the ambiance of your restaurant with music, you must first consider any copyrights that might exist and ensure that the music you play is legal. One way to ensure that the restaurant music you choose to provide falls within fair use is to consult a copyright attorney. If you need to, this attorney will be able to guide you in the right direction and obtain the permissions you need.
Your Property Means Your Liability
As the restaurant owner, it is also important to realize that you can be held responsible for any violation occurring within your restaurant. In a recent case held in the Sixth Circuit Court, a restaurant owner was found liable due to both recorded and live music provided by third parties. In this instance, DJs and live bands were being hired to provide music, but they did not have the rights to play the music they were playing. Simply for letting this continue, the restaurant owner was found liable and had to suffer the penalties.
With this in mind, many owners looking for restaurant music first choose to consult a copyright attorney to assure that they are obeying all federal and local laws regarding the use of their music. Whether you are looking to set up live or recorded music to play in your restaurant and have questions about the legal status, you may wish to seek out the best professional advisors to help establish your new restaurant business. When that time comes, contact Lewis Sassoon of Sassoon & Cymrot for individual guidance and consultation.