Bah Humbug. It was the night the music died in Winnebago.
There was plenty of festive cheer during the annual Frosty Fest celebration held on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Municipal Center.
But, one thing was missing — Christmas songs blaring downtown from the city’s sound system.
Being unable to figure out how to get the speakers to work, says City Administrator Jake Skluzacek, was one reason for the lack of yuletide favorites.
Another may have been the threat of possible legal action being taken.
According to Skluzacek and Deputy City Clerk Jessi Sturtz, a local musician expressed her concern of using copyrighted music at city-sponsored events.
“It was brought to our attention one day before Frosty Fest,” says Sturtz.
Skluzacek says the city has been in touch with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers association (ASCAP) to obtain a license.
“The cost is $345 a year or the city could be facing a $750 fine for using the music without permission,” he says.
According to ASCAP’s website, the association has more than 725,000 members and licenses more than 11.5 million songs and scores that are played and performed publicly.
“The city proactively contacted us,” says Michele McKinney. “But, ASCAP does not litigate against governmental entities.”