You know Primo's, the busy-as-hell Tex-Mex restaurant on McKinney Avenue? You've likely walked by its patio while it's packed to the rails with Uptowners lining their stomachs with cheese and tortillas before a night of shot-taking, misplaced credit cards and broken heels. The restaurant has been open since 1986, according to a manager, and was successful enough to spawn a second restaurant in Garland in 2007.
And now BMI, the massive music publisher, wants a slice of Primo's quesadilla. The company is targeting the owners and even a few of the employees for copyright infringement on behalf of 11 different artists and publishers in a federal lawsuit.
Through BMI, the plaintiffs allege a number of unlicensed performances of their music on September 20, 2011. This was the night "Billy Jean" played while fajitas sizzled, Anthony Kiedis sang "Californication" while customers requested extra hot sauce and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" hinted at events yet to come.
BMI sends representatives out to bars are restaurants all over the country to listen for tracks from artists they represent. When a song is heard, a bill is presented and if that doesn't go over well, the legal team gets called in.
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The same song plays out again and again, enough for the New York Times Magazine to cover the process, and another example to pop up at some rural midget wrestling bar over on Unfair Park earlier this year.