Wauwatosa restaurant sued after refusing to pay for music rights

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has filed a lawsuit against the owner of Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub in Wauwatosa, alleging that Dan Zierath violated copyright laws by playing music in his restaurants without the proper license to do so .

The group, which filed the lawsuit Aug. 23 in federal court, said it has been in contact with Zierath since 2020 in an effort to make the licensing process as easy as possible.

“It is important to note that we do not usually have this problem. Most restaurants are willing to pay the reasonable fee we charge; however, Mr. Zierath has refused to do so, and although we view lawsuits as the last option, we felt this was the only decision to make at this point,” said Jackson Wagener, an attorney with ASCAP.

The attorney representing Zierath, Aaron Hall, said he and his client are reviewing the allegations and will respond to them before the indictment deadline in early September. Until then, Hall said neither he nor Zierathi would comment.

ASCAP is confident it will win the case and stated that almost all disputes that lead to its lawsuits end up being settled before going to court.

“Honestly, the law here is pretty black and white. There is a clear violation of copyright due to Mr. Zierath to pay the fee,” Wagener said.

What is ASCAP and what does it do?

ASCAP’s goal is to ensure that more than 875,000 writers worldwide are fairly compensated for the use of their work. This is done by using copyright law to ensure that restaurants and other venues that use music from those writers pay for the licenses that authorize them to play that music.

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