DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Papi's Fajita Factory in Denham Springs is being sued for copyright infringement, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report. The mexican restaurant is being sued by BMI, one of the country's largest performing rights organizations, and 10 music producers.
The federal lawsuit was filed Monday and alleges 10 counts of copyright infringement based on the restaurant's live music performances from local bands who play cover music. The music is licensed by BMI.
BMI and the country's other major performing rights organization, ASCAP, frequently target bars and restaurants that haven't paid a legally required fee that gives establishments a blanket license to play copyrighted music.
According to the Business Report, BMI claims they first contacted Papi's in April 2011 to offer the restaurant a BMI license. Since then, BMI says they have contacted the restaurant 57 times by letter, 79 times by phone, and only received one call back. BMI states they also visited the restaurant in 2011.
"It's silly that they're asking for that. I'm sure at any other place or bar people request other songs, other than their songs," said Denise Velazzo Manager, Papi's Fajita Factory.
Management also says BMI has never made a visit to their store, never sent a representative to talk with then, nor have they received anything in the mail regarding a lawsuit.
Papi's co-owner Adrian Martinez told the Business Report that he does not believe the restaurant is legally obligated to pay BMI. He believes the local bands who play a mix of original and cover songs, should be responsible for paying the licensing fees.
Martinez told the Business Report he is not worried about the suit and that he doesn't need the music. "But if they're going to sue me, I'm going to sue them back."