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Here’s the deal.  BMI — the famous music licensing company — has filed lawsuits against 12 bars and restaurants around the country, claiming the establishments have been playing their songs without paying a licensing fee.  And it gets a lot worse.  For every BMI song that gets played on a bar jukebox or by a DJ without the proper fee being paid, BMI is entitled to $150,000 in damages.  So “Love Child” could literally put a bar out of biz.

As for how BMI picked the places to sue — it appears to have been pretty random.  Some of the targets are The Fox Hole in West Jordan, Utah, Mojo Main in Newark, Delaware, Whiskey River Ranch, (we think it’s in Springfield, Oregon), Whiskey Bones Roadhouse in Rochester, Minnesota, Kildare’s Irish Pub in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Pig ‘N’ Whistle in NYC.

BMI is obviously sending a message to hundreds of thousands of bars and restaurants across the US of A — playing “Free Bird” ain’t so free after all.*

*excerpt from TMZ