When word got out this morning that Bruce Springsteen, the richest male musician in the country, was suing Connolly's Irish Bar in Midtown Manhattan for copyright infringement, it looked like The Boss had gone bad.
Apparently, the bar featured a band on Aug. 9, 2008, that performed three of Springsteen's hits — and charged customers a cover fee. Of course, bars and other venues that host live performances (and make money from them) are supposed to pay an annual licensing fee to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which in turn, doles out royalties to the Springsteens of the world.
The unnamed band played three songs "Growin' Up," "Because the Night" and "You're No Good," which was written by Clinton Ballard Jr., a co-plaintiff in the case with Springsteen.
"It's not about him as a recording artist," said Vincent Candilora, ASCAP senior vice president for licensing. "In this instance, he's simply a songwriter with rights."
Connolly's could face a $30,000 fine for refusing to pay a $2,700 licensing fee, Candilora said.
He said the suit sought to make a level playing field for all bars, including those who paid royalties.
"We had been after them [Connolly's] for complying for over two years, so it's not so much about who or where," Candilora told The Daily News. "Why should those places that are complying with the law be at a competitive disadvantage?" he asked.
But it turns out that Candilora and ASCAP should have asked Springsteen.
When the lawsuit hit the fan, The Boss' suits quickly cleared things up. In a statement, they said: "In regards to the ASCAP lawsuit against Connolly's Pub and Restaurant, ASCAP was solely responsible for naming Bruce Springsteen as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Bruce Springsteen had no knowledge of this lawsuit, was not asked if he would participate as a named plaintiff, and would not have agreed to do so if he had been asked. Upon learning of this lawsuit this morning, Bruce Springsteen's representatives demanded the immediate removal of his name from the lawsuit."