Clayton’s faces copyright lawsuit

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Music is big business at Clayton’s and now songwriters and publishers want the biggest beach bar in Texas to pay up.

A complaint filed in federal court is asking Clayton’s to pay for what the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers claims is past damages owed to songwriters whose songs have been played but not paid for.

Clayton’s is one of 10 establishments in the U.S. that ASCAP took action against earlier in the week alleging infringement of songwriters’ copyrights by performing or playing their musical works without permission.

“If Clayton’s plays popular music, they’re playing ASCAP music,” said Jackson Wagener, ASCAP vice president of legal affairs.

ASCAP is a membership association that operates on a nonprofit basis and represents more than 600,000 independent songwriters, composers and music publishers and more than 10 million copyrighted works.

According to Wagener, without an ASCAP annual license, just about any song played at Clayton’s by cover bands, DJs and via streaming online is in violation of a copyright.

“My hope is we can reach a settlement so our members are properly compensated,” Wagener said. “We want them (Clayton’s) to stay in business and keep playing our members’ music.”

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What is ASCAP?

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP says its mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances.