BMI sues Lady Godiva's for music copyright violations

5:01 PM, Sep 20, 2011   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Broadcast Music, Inc., the music licensing group, is suing the Lady Godiva's nightclub and its owner, Mark London, claiming the club has violated copyrights.

BMI filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, alleging the club played songs by artists Rivers Cuomo ("Say It Ain't So"), R. Kelly ("Ignition") and Amy Winehouse ("You Know I'm No Good") without paying the proper music license fees.  The suit claims the songs were played at the club -- without BMI permission -- on September 27, 2010.

BMI is seeking financial damages for the alleged offenses, and is asking a judge to prevent the club and London from further acts of copyright infringement.

London tells WZZM 13 News that BMI is seeking to have him sign a licensing agreement registering his club as an adult entertainment business, which he says it is not.  He says that while his club does feature women dancing it is not a topless venue, as a 2006 Grand Rapids city ordinance no longer allows nudity.  He says what people can see in his club is "PG-13," and "no worse than what people can see at Holland State Park beach."

London says he is in good standing with ASCAP and other licensing agencies. But when he sent checks to BMI to pay for music rights, London says the group voided the payments.

London says he has not seen the lawsuit, but feels the case will be thrown out of federal court after a judge rules his business is not an adult entertainment enterprise.

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