BMI and Sony are suing Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, alleging that the popular Wicker Park mainstay didn't pay them for permission to play songs from Weezer and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The publishers of the bands' music, as well as BMI and Sony are also listed as plaintiffs in a one-count, six-page lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Chicago.
The allegations of copyright infringement stem from Aug. 23, 2015. Sony claims Piece played Willie Nelson's "Crazy" without permission. The Red Hot Chili Peppers cited "Give It Away," and Weezer —specifically frontman Rivers Cuomo— cited "Say It Ain't So." The lawsuit alleged that BMI attempted to contact Piece's Bill Jacobs repeatedly since May 2014 to broker an agreement, without success.
Jacobs declined comment, citing his attorney's instructions to not field any media requests. It's the first time a record label has sued Piece. Labels routinely send reps to bars and restaurants to narc on violators who don't pay royalties. A similar incident occurred last spring as ASCAP sued Fatpour Tap Works and Kirkwood Bar & Grill.
Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen happens to be an investor at Piece. The Rockford band, known for hits such as "Surrender" and "I Want You To Want Me," is also a former client at BMI.
The Sun-Times first reported the lawsuit, which can be read below.