At least one Guitar Hero Arcade operator has received demands from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), to pay a licensing fee for its music game units. According to the organization, the arcade machine, which plays dozens of popular rock and pop songs like the home console versions, is akin to a jukebox and thus requires similar "public performances" fees.

The operator Mdrago has two Guitar Hero Arcade units at his bar, and though his establishment often hosts bands, it doesn't pay for an ASCAP license because the performers only play original music and not cover songs. He shared his troubles with the organization on the International Arcade Museum forums:

"My understanding was this was a legally licensed game, but ASCAP is saying that it isn't. We had one in a music venue and they are wanting us to pay a fine because they are basically saying it is used like a jukebox, but it's not because patrons are paying for the entertainment of the game, not for the listening value of the music. ...

ASCAP is saying we have to pay the $800 a year license to have it in this bar. ... We gave the lady hassling us [Guitar Hero Arcade manufacturer] Raw Thrills' number because our distributor told us that should clear it up, but it has not. ASCAP is saying they are going around the St. Louis area and is going to push every one of these out."

While Raw Thrills hasn't commented on the issue, an ASCAP spokesperson recently told GamePolitics, "ASCAP is currently in negotiations with the manufacturer for the commercial use of these machines." I wonder why this issue is just coming up now when similar music-playing arcade games like Dance Dance Revolution have been around for years?

[Via Arcade Heroes]