Toby Keith, Large Segment of the Music Industry Are Suing a Tiny North Texas Bar
A half hour south of Fort Worth and a couple of miles down a narrow Farm-to-Market road near Alvarado, you'll find the Turkey Creek Bar & Grill. It's an easy-going place with a dirt parking lot, corrugated roof and a generous front porch. You could almost call it a honky-tonk, but it's probably fairer just to say its a friendly watering hole where you can kick back, enjoy a cold one and treat yourself to an evening of midget wrestling.
Somehow, despite its remote location and welcoming atmosphere, Turkey Creek has made Toby Keith very, very mad. Stevie Nicks, too. And Hank Williams Jr., Pat Green and Evanescence. Matter of fact, a sizable chunk of the U.S. music industry, including record labels like Sony and EMI, is taking aim at Turkey Creek in a federal lawsuit.
The musicians and record labels, led by rights-management company BMI, claim the bar infringed upon a dozen copyrights on the night of August 12, 2011, by hosting an "unauthorized public performance of musical compositions from the BMI Repertoire." The lawsuit doesn't specify the occasion, nor does the bar's Facebook timeline, but the court filings do include a copy of the set list, which includes Nicks' "Landslide" and "Rhiannon"; Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life"; and Toby Keith's "I Ain't As Good As I Once Was."
There's an interesting piece in The New York Times Magazine from a couple of years ago about BMI's efforts to get bars, restaurants, and other businesses to cough up license fees, so this isn't exactly a new phenomenon.
We called the bar, the owners of which had not yet seen the lawsuit. They said they'd take a look and let us know if they have anything to say. Meanwhile, enjoy Turkey Creek's famed wrestling: