My local coffee shop has, sadly, decided to end its practice of hosting local musical talent. This is worrisome because our emerging performers turn to public coffee shop gigs as a means of building names for themselves within our communities. Why was the sad decision made? Well, coffee shops — even without charging any cover charge — are being held up for fees by entities known as patent trolls. The patent troll threatens hosting businesses with legal action for any fees that performers may owe for performing songs that are covered by patents. The result, here in Rhode Island and across the nation, is that emerging musical entrepreneurs are being swept away from the public eye.
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