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Another uptown Charlotte night spot sued by major music publishers

A white worker at a North Carolina barbecue joint threw hot barbecue sauce on an African American co-worker and repeatedly called her the N-word, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit.
A white worker at a North Carolina barbecue joint threw hot barbecue sauce on an African American co-worker and repeatedly called her the N-word, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit. KRT

A second uptown Charlotte night spot has been accused this month of playing famous songs without permission.

Roxbury NightClub, an ’80s and ’90s-themed dance club on West Fifth Street, is accused of copyright infringement for playing four hit songs on the same night in December without paying for them, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte.

The songs were Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and “Bad”; “Shake Your Booty” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band; and Poison’s “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” the lawsuit says.

BMI and several other companies that own rights to the songs sued the nightclub and Roxbury’s Robert Sullivan. Sullivan operates and manages the limited liability company that owns the club, according to the lawsuit.

Since June 2016, the lawsuit contends, BMI contacted Sullivan and the club at least 30 times by phone, mail and email to “educate” them as to their obligations under the federal Copyright Act.

Sullivan told the Observer he hasn’t seen the lawsuit.

He said his club pays to use the Promo Only music video service and that he has told that to BMI representatives when they have contacted him. He also said he will have his attorney send the companies a letter explaining the club’s use of Promo Only.

Sullivan said he is a native Charlottean who has been in business for 30 years. Regardless of the licensing disagreement, he said, “Roxbury is here to stay. We’re an uptown Charlotte staple.”

On Feb. 13, BMI and other major music publishers filed a similar copyright infringement complaint against Draught Charlotte on South Cedar Street. The lawsuit named Jason Astephen and Cedar Street Investments LLC. Astephen oversees Cedar Street Investments, which owns and manages Draught, according to the lawsuit.

Astephen told the Observer that Draught provides music on a licensed Spotify account and requested information about ASCAP’s song category and libraries.

“We are under the assumption that with Spotify and Pandora that we are covered,” he said, adding that he is no longer a partner in the business and that Draught is not a music venue.

 

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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