Gold Coast nightclub ordered to pay $115,000 for music copyright

A JUDGE has fined a popular Surfers Paradise nightclub and its director $115,000 for unlawfully using copyrighted music at its club.

Escape Bar & Nightclub and its owner Steven Ritchardson were slapped with the hefty fine by a Federal Circuit Court judge, after allegedly refusing to take out a Recorded Music for Dance Use licence.

In a statement, APRA AMCOS said they “spent three years attempting to appraise the nightclub’s Director of the rights infringement and attempting to secure a licence for his venue.”


“APRA requested the respondents desist from infringing its copyright in the Works and the APRA Repertoire works but the respondents repeated the infringing acts,” Judge Manousaridis said

Some of the music the nightclub was found to be unlawfully using included: Break Free by Ariana Grande, Wannabe by the Spice Girls, Beauty and a Beat by Justin Bieber ft. Nicki Minaj, It’s My Life by Bon Jovi, U + Ur Hand by P!nk, 24K Magic by Bruno Mars and more.

APRA launched legal action on 16 August this year after they were “left with no alternative.”

In the statement, APRA said there was no appearance by the nightclub’s director at the first hearing on 6 September 2017 or the second on 20 September 2017.

The judge awarded $32,899.84 for licence fees APRA AMCOS would have received from Escape Bar & Nightclub Pty Ltd under the Recorded Music for Dance Use licence scheme for the period 1 September 2014 to 23 July 2017.

The judge also awarded $3,849.48 for interest on these fees for 1 September 2014 to 24 October 2017 and costs of $8,930.

The judge awarded $35,000 in additional damages against Escape Bar & Nightclub Pty Ltd and $35,000 in additional damages against the sole Director Mr Ritchardson for “the flagrancy and sustained infringement.”

Judge Manousaridis said the judgment “serves to deter other night club owners from infringing copyright in musical works.”