Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken

422 U.S. 151 (1975)

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Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken

United States Supreme Court
422 U.S. 151 (1975)

SH

Facts

George Aiken (defendant) owned and operated a small restaurant. Customers that purchased food to-go were in the restaurant for less than five minutes, and those who ate at the restaurant remained there for about 10 to 15 minutes. Aiken turned on his radio each morning at the start of business, so both he and his customers heard whatever music, news, entertainment, and commercials were broadcast by radio stations. Twentieth Century Music Corp.’s (plaintiff) copyrighted songs were received on the radio in Aiken’s restaurant from a local broadcasting station. The broadcaster had an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) license, but Aiken did not. Twentieth Century then sued Aiken for copyright infringement. Aiken lost in the district court but prevailed in the court of appeals. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

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