Guinness, Shepherd’s Pie, and a $30,000 Fine

Listen, I’m all for protecting artists’ rights, their creativity, and blah, blah, blah, but a recent incident at Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant in Midtown has me thinking twice about some of their intentions, particularly Mr. Bruce Springsteen’s. On a warm, summer August night in 2008, New Yorkers mingled, boozed, and set out to simply enjoy the Irish restaurant and its live entertainment. This particular night, a cover band was playing tunes while customers chowed down on traditional Irish food and beverages. On the band’s set list was three of Springsteen’s good old fashioned, heart-warming, make-you-proud-to-be-an-American songs. The booze was flowing, and people were cheering with delight. Well, since that night, the cheering has most definitely stopped, and Connolly’s, well, Connolly’s is definitely not cheering, like, not even in the slightest.

Springsteen is suing the Irish pub for not paying the proper royalties, and the venue could now be fined up to $30,000. I have two questions for you Mr. USA–one, are you not already wealthy enough that you have to go after even more dough? How about getting back into the recording studio or something to make some extra cash? And two, why do you have this much time on your hands to even consider following through with the action? Whatever the answers are, to be honest, I really could care less. But I just think it’s a tad bit ridiculous when you’re someone of such stature and you decided to sue over three songs that a cover band played in a random New York bar. And although it sounds to most people and probably is a bit extreme, laws are laws I guess. All venues that host live music are required to hand over annual licensing fees to the American Society of Composers, which obviously this venue did not do. And Connolly’s should know better. It is a nice place, so you would think they’d be up-to-date on their laws and regulations. An ASCAP representative says they’ve been going after the bar for two years though. But I guess they had the same mindset as I do–who’s really going to sue over a cover band’s three songs? It looks like they’ve found the answer. Better luck next time, Connolly’s.