Somebody stop these bastards before they breed. Just stumbled on an article (an old one, but it still holds). It tells how far ASCAP is trying to bilk even more people for enjoying songs that they own the licensing rights to. Basically, groups going camping can’t sing songs like “This Land is Your Land,” or “God Bless America” around the campfire without paying a license fee to them, or risk a $5000 fine and six months in jail. The whole article is here.
I’ve seen this first hand. I used to work for the State Parks department, and not only did we have to pay license fees when local musicians sang covers of popular songs (why we had to pay them when we didn’t pick the musicians’ song list is beyond me), but they actually tried to make us take count of the number of times we sang Happy Birthday to camp kids so we could be billed for the public performances of that song.
As far as I can see, the only positive note about this debacle is that now when I’m at Applebee’s for my birthday, I can tell those singing, clapping assholes that I’m gonna turn them in if they interrupt my meal.