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‘I Won’t Back Down,’ club owner said

A Suffolk club owner’s luck ran out in Norfolk federal court last Friday.  

The club owner had told music-licensing giant ASCAP that he would take his chances on operating without an ASCAP license, according to a lawsuit filed by the publishers. The plaintiffs included “Gone Gator Music,” “Floated Music,” “Milksongs” and “Hideout Records.”   

The suit detailed how ASCAP “representatives” contacted defendant Randolph Martin White, who ran the Randzz restaurant in Suffolk, on numerous occasions to tell him performers at his restaurant needed to operate under a license in order to avoid copyright infringement by live bands doing cover songs.  

But White wouldn’t back down.  

In fact, you could say the band was playing his anthem when the club was busted after an August 2007 performance that included the Tom Petty tune “I Won’t Back Down,” as well as “Interstate Love Song” and “The Fire Down Below.” 

White, according to the complaint’s admitted facts, said he thought it was up to the bands to pay for the necessary license, and “he would take his chances on a lawsuit.” 

Norfolk U.S. District Judge Mark S. David obliged White on May 22, and entered default judgment for the publishers in EMI April Music Inc. v. White. 

“Despite a year of repeated warnings” White persisted in allowing the infringing conduct, Davis held.  He awarded plaintiff publishers an injunction and $10,500 in damages — $3,500 per infringement – and attorney’s fees and costs of $3,293.

By Deborah Elkins

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