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Do trivia games at bars violate copyright laws when they use movie/music video clips?

Denver, CO |

I am wondering what (if any) kind of permsion someone would need to obtain in order to run a trivia game at a bar that included movie/TV clips and music video clips. You see trivia games and DJs that have music videos to go along with their music in bars all the time, do these people have to pay for the rights to this or not?

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

Anytime a commercial establishment performs copyrighted works whether that is via sound recordings or movie clips, etc they are required to obtain a license for that use. The typical way to handle this is a blanket license purchased through ASCAP, but this will not cover everything.

Most bars/nightclubs will usually take the risk of being pinched for infringement if that use is occasional, but they are often stung by copyright owners. We had a client recently that operated a karaoke business and she was hit with an infringement action when an agent of the copyright owner investigated her at one of her gigs.

If you are a business operator you might want to consult a lawyer in private. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

Best regards,
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
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If movie or TV or music video clips are shown in a bar as part of a game [or for any reason] then the bar owner needs to acquire a license for such use. Without a license, showing the clips is copyright infringement. Do all bars acquire licenses? No. But that's the law.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.