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Editorial Results (free)

1. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

2. Change of Scenery -

After spending years or decades in their current form, longtime staples of the local real estate scene are about to disappear or undergo major changes that will forever alter the city’s built landscape.

3. In Remembrance -

The Bluff City Tuesday, Sept.11, joins communities across the United States in honoring local firefighters and remembering the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks that shook the nation 11 years ago on this day.

4. MED Foundation Announces Gala Lineup -

The MED Foundation has announced the lineup for its upcoming gala, “Med Night, A Soul Celebration – Soul Food, Soulful Sounds and The Soul Train Scramble Board.”

Thelma Houston, The Temptations, The Four Tops and The 5th Dimension are slated to perform at the event, which will take place March 31 at The Peabody hotel.

5. Tennessee Fans Lobbying Manning to Consider Titans -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Peyton Manning remains on the Colts' roster, and the Titans have three quarterbacks already.

Still, Titans' fans of the NFL's only four-time MVP expecting the injured QB to be released and healthy enough to play are starting an ad campaign in Indianapolis hoping to convince Manning to return to Tennessee.

6. Pera Appointed Special Adviser For ABA Strategic Communications Committee -

Lucian Pera of Adams and Reese LLP has been appointed as a special adviser of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Strategic Communications for a one-year term.

7. Dress Newest Pathologist At Pathology Group of the MidSouth -

Dr. Matthew A. Dress has joined Pathology Group of the MidSouth PC as its newest pathologist.

Before joining Pathology Group of the MidSouth, Dress served as the chief resident in anatomic and clinical pathology at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Tennessee. He then completed a fellowship in hematopathology at the University of Rochester Medical Center-Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. 

8. Newby’s Owner Announces Bar, Property Up for Sale -

Todd Adams, owner of the Highland Strip bar Newby’s, is looking for a young entrepreneur to write the next chapter of the business he’s overseen for more than a decade.

9. Naifeh Says no Extra Staff With Honorary Title -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Former state House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh said his new honorary title does not carry any extra legislative staff privileges.

Naifeh, who was given the title of speaker emeritus in a House vote on Wednesday, said he has retained only his longtime assistant Reta Adams since the election of new Speaker Kent Williams in January.

10. Newby’s, BMI Close to Settlement -

Newby’s and Broadcast Music Inc. appear to have settled a copyright infringement lawsuit BMI filed last year against the popular college bar along the Highland Strip, according to newly filed court records.

11. Mortgage-Market Trouble Reaches Big Credit Unions -

Five of the nation's largest credit unions are reporting big paper losses on mortgage-related securities, a sign that housing-market distress is spreading even to the most risk-averse financial sectors.

12. Newby’s, BMI Ordered to Mediation -

Todd Adams, the owner of Newby’s, a popular college bar along the Highland Strip, was a little nervous as he prepared to participate in a Thursday conference call that would decide his business’ fate.

13. Newby's Owner Weathers BMI Suit - For the most part, the last few years have been good to Todd Adams, the owner of a popular college bar along the Highland Strip.

Newby's, the bar he bought in 1997, is sometimes referred to by its owner and customers as "the college bar you never graduate from."

That's a spirit he's tried to maintain and cultivate at the University of Memphis area hotspot, and it's partly the reason he's now fighting a group of lawyers and music industry executives who filed a federal lawsuit last year against Newby's.

He's also fighting to keep his business afloat, even though the toll from the
lawsuit has led him to consider filing bankruptcy.


'Really sad affair'

Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), a nonprofit group that licenses the music of songwriters and publishers, brought the suit against Adams in federal court.

Any business where music is played or performed, such as a restaurant, hotel or airport lounge, is required to buy a license from a group such as BMI. For an annual fee, the license gives those businesses the performing rights to the 6.5 million songs in the BMI catalog.

Newby's owned a BMI license several years ago but doesn't anymore. For more than a decade, Adams has maintained that the music industry group changed the terms of his license agreement after he thought it was already finalized.

Among the factors that determine a business' yearly license fee is its capacity. Adams said Newby's legal occupancy is 132, but he says BMI records peg that number at 600.

The answer given by a BMI representative when asked the reason for that discrepancy is that disagreements over occupancy are common between business owners and BMI.

Newby's currently employs fewer than 20 people, and Adams scrapes to pay the bills. But he said BMI, which has a branch office in the 10 Music Square East building on Nashville's famed Music Row, has steadfastly refused to negotiate with him.

"I've been trying to come up with a reasonable payment for them - I've been doing that since day one," Adams said. "They have never wanted to do anything at all except sue me and make tens of thousands of dollars. It's just a really, really sad affair."


What it amounts to

For Adams, that situation doesn't appear to get any better. The lawsuit doesn't mention a specific amount of money the music group is seeking.

But Jerry Bailey, director of media relations for BMI, said there is a statutory range BMI can request for in damages, which can reach as high as $30,000 per song.

If the infringement is determined to be willful, the costs could get up to $150,000 per song. In Newby's case, court documents on file in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee record 21 instances of copyright infringement.

"Generally, BMI doesn't ask for damages at that willful infringement level," Bailey said. "One reason is that damages at that level would definitely put most businesses out of business if there are multiple songs involved, and it's never been our intention to put anyone out of business. We simply want to license them.

"If they've caused us significant legal costs and there are lost revenues involved, then we always ask for enough to recover our damages, in addition to court costs and legal fees. That's what it really amounts to."


Formidable foe

That formula for damages, though, should be viewed in the context of another facet of BMI's operation - its near-perfect batting average. Bailey could not recall offhand a similar copyright infringement lawsuit the group has lost.

An entire floor in the BMI building in Nashville is occupied by a bank of computers performing research that's part of the process of tracking unlicensed businesses such as Newby's. The group has several tactics it uses to build a case against an offending business, such as sending an anonymous researcher on-site to collect evidence.

Those researchers show up and order from the menu, hang out, socialize - all while secretly recording the details of who exactly is playing which copyrighted songs.

That's what happened in Newby's case. A BMI researcher was in the crowd on New Year's Eve in 2006 noting that the audience was listening to performances of songs such as "Get Down Tonight" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band.

"Better than 90 percent of these cases get settled before they go to trial," Bailey said. "If they go to trial, it can be extremely expensive for a business owner should they lose."


The business owner might be on the losing end in that scenario, but so would another party. Adams said his bar's performance space fills an important need for young bands just starting out, some of which may be in the process of distributing their music and trying to get their first radio play.

Newby's also stands apart from other Memphis venues such as TJ Mulligan's, where he said it's more common to hear bands whose set lists are comprised almost exclusively of cover material.

"What has Newby's done except offer a great place for artists to play in Memphis?" Adams said. "Ninety-nine percent of the artists here play their own music. Sure, maybe half a dozen times a year someone will play a cover song. But are you kidding me? You're going to charge me $12,000 or something a year for that?"

Personally and professionally, Adams ought to be a happy and comfortable man. His business remains a popular concert venue for up-and-coming bands more than a decade after he first took it over. It sits at the heart of the neighborhood surrounding the University of Memphis, an area that's the focus of a broad revitalization effort.

Adams and his wife, Stephanie, a nurse, got married four years ago. The protracted court fight, however, has taken a toll on the bar owner.

"We're good people over here," he said. "We're not selling to minors, breaking the law. I'm just trying to make it through another year, hopefully until this university district gets developed. And then it's going to explode over here and just be amazing."


...

14. Celeb Trademark Issues at Root of Three Separate Lawsuits -

Call it the battle of the brands. Since late April, three recognizable, high-profile Memphis music entities - Newby's, Sun Studio and Elvis Presley Enterprises - all have gone to court within weeks of each other in a series of unrelated cases that all have one thing in common.

15. Local Store Spins Second-Hand Items Into First-Class Auctions -

Life is a treasure hunt for Jeff Todd.

The 53-year-old Germantown resident scours area pawn shops and garage sales in search of jewelry or other valuables that people are unloading. He buys everything from used Rolex watches to signed acoustic guitars, but he doesn't keep his new-found goods for long - he resells them on eBay at a profit.

16. Archived Article: Law Briefs - Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell will host a labor and employment law seminar at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N

Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell will host a labor and employment law seminar at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N....

17. Archived Article: Law Briefs - Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell will host a labor and employment law seminar from 8 a

The Shelby County Democratic Party's executive committee meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday. This meeting, which is open to the public, is at the I.B.E.W. Union...

18. Archived Article: Law Briefs - Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell will host a labor and employment law seminar from 8 a

Dedication ceremonies for Lowrance Road Park are 5 p.m. today at the entrance of the park on Long Creek Road, off Hacks Cross Road near Southwind Middle...

19. Archived Article: Memos - Harrah's Names Stephen Brammell Stephen H. Brammell has been appointed senior vice president and general counsel for Harrahs Entertainment Inc. He formerly was vice president and associate general counsel. Brammell has a bachelors degree from Oklaho...

20. Archived Article: Calendar - Sept Sept. 8 The Laurelwood Business and Professional Women will meet at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 387 Perkins Road Extended from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 685-0495. The Shelby County Republican Womens Club will meet at 11 a.m. at...

21. Archived Article: Calendar - March 10 March 10 Professional Secretaries International will meet at 6 p.m. at the Marriott, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd. The speaker will be Shirley Jones, past president of the state division of PSI. The cost is $13. For more information, call Nathal...