Here’s a little bit of a strange news story – nine months after Raw Thrills’/Activision/Konami released Guitar Hero Arcade, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (or ASCAP for short – good thing they left out that extra ‘S’ right?) is saying that an operator in the US needs to pay them $800 in licensing fees for simply running a GHA machine at his location. According to Gamepolitics.com, ASCAP sees the machine as a jukebox and thus wants their piece of the pie for “public performances”. ASCAP gets such from jukeboxes and considers Guitar Hero Arcade to be a jukebox in a public place rather than a video game.
Of the question now is are they going to go after every Gamestop/Best Buy/WalMart in the US which runs an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 kiosk featuring a Guitar Hero game? If they want to remain consistent then they should otherwise it seems quite unfair to me. Are they going to go after operators who have other music games like Dance Dance Revolution? If that is the case then it’s going to put a lot of extra strain on music games at the arcade in general unless they involve original music that ASCAP doesn’t control. It’s hard to say where this is headed and when it comes to music rights it certainly seems to be a sensitive subject for many. Raw Thrills’ has not commented on the story yet but the ASCAP says that they are”…currently in negotiations with the manufacturer for the commercial use of these machines.” We’ll keep an eye on this and see what happens.