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17 U.S.C.S § 101(1) defines the term "publicly" as follows: to perform or display [a copyrighted work] at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.
Plaintiffs, owners of certain copyrights, filed the current copyright infringement action against Defendants Champions Golf Club, Inc., and Jack Burke, Jr., the corporate Defendant's president and principal stockholder, alleging that the defendants allowed the unauthorized public performance of Plaintiffs' copyrighted songs before a group of 21 people in a restaurant of the Champions Golf Club. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the performances were not public because the golf club was private. The plaintiffs cross-moved for summary judgment and sought leave to supplement their cross-motion.
Did the performance of Plaintiffs' copyrighted songs before a group of 21 people at defendants’ golf club constitute public performance that infringed plaintiffs’ copyright?
The court denied defendants' motion and granted plaintiffs' cross-motions, holding that performance of the compositions for 21 people at defendants' golf club constituted a public performance. The court noted that under 17 U.S.C.S § 101(1), the term “publicly” was defined as “to perform or display a copyrighted work at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.” The court further held that the defendants did not establish that plaintiffs delayed bringing their action in bad faith. Accordingly, the court concluded that an injunction, damages, costs, and fees were appropriate.