Jay vs Spot of Tea: Artists Sue over Music Royalties

By Minara El-Rahman on December 08, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Jay-Z certainly claims its a hard knock life, but he also seems to be giving out some hard knocks too. After the assault charges against bouncers of his 40/40 nightclub were announced, another lawsuit involving the Jigga Man was recently announced. This lawsuit from Jay-Z deals with copyright licensing.  

The Examiner reports that Jay-Z and five other artists who are part of Universal Music Group are suing Spot of Tea in Mobile, Alabama. (Spot of Tea runs Club Insanity at night.) The lawsuit is part of a slew of lawsuits filed against small businesses across the country claiming copyright infringement by Universal. The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court in Alabama.

The complaint, which you can read here details six causes of action for copyright infringement. It alleges that despite getting notice for playing copyrighted music from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), that the tea shop/nightclub continued to play the infringing music. Jay-Z is suing because he claims that the tea shop played Rihanna's song Umbrella without Universal Music Group's permission.

The owner of Spot of Tea, Tony Moore, claims that he is licensed to play music in his place of business. He told CBS News, "I've been in business for 15 years and I've gained an impeccable reputation. I pay my bills. I'm not a rogue business person that's trying to come in under the radar and perform a business operation without a permit."

Mr. Moore also operates a nightclub behind the tea shop called Club Insanity. When he was asked if it was possible that he played songs that he was not licensed to play, he responded to CBS News as saying, "I don't know if that's possible or not because they program it."

He is responding to Jay-Z's lawsuit with his own lawsuit for defamation of character.

Well if Jay-Z has 99 problems, then this new lawsuit must be one of them!

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