Washington State Update: Music licensing bill with Sequim roots plays on

by MATTHEW NASH,  Sequim Gazette Reporter 

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:00PM

Updated on March 9 from its original print version.

Rep. Kevin Van De Wege’s music licensing bill has made it to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk after more than a year of discussion and dissection.

His proposed House Bill 1763, “Regulating music licensing agencies,” requires new registration and filing standards for music licensing agents. It passed both in the House 72-25 on Feb. 10, and 48-0 on March 3 in the Senate. 

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Local opinion
One Sequim businessman, Dale Dunning, owner of the Oasis Bar & Grill, said he’s felt the burn from music licenses leading him to be an advocate for Van De Wege’s bill.

In 2014, he received a bill from BMI for $8,700 following an investigation that musicians were playing copyrighted music in Dunning’s business without registering with them. In response, he stopped bringing in bands because he felt the investigation and fine blindsided him.

However, he recently took out the Oasis’ stage, which once was one of the most active music venues in Sequim.

“We’re completely done with music,” he said. “We’re fixing our place up and focusing on dining. The music thing wasn’t viable.”

Previously, Dunning said music nights were mostly break-even.

Several Sequim venues or groups continue to pay music licensing fees such as 7 Cedars Casino, the City of Sequim and the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association while a few have stopped music entirely due to pressures from licensing companies.

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