No matter if you either love or hate karaoke, you might want to keep a close eye on a recently filed copyright infringement case in California. The dispute involves KTS Karaoke, a leading maker and distributor of karaoke discs, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a joint venture between Sony and the estate of Michael Jackson.
As reported in the Hollywood Reporter, KTS is seeking a declaratory judgement by the courts that it doesn’t owe $1.28 billion for 6,715 alleged acts of copyright infringement as claimed by Sony. KTS also counterclaims that Sony is committing copyright misuse by attempting to collect multiple damage awards on a single work by pursuing producers, bars and restaurants, and distributors.
In response, Sony has filed a lawsuit against KTS in Tennessee, alleging willful copyright infringement. Sony is seeking damages, an injunction, and a recall of all infringing song discs.
Karaoke invokes a whole host of copyright and licensing issues, including the right to use the original music and song composition, the right to perform the song in public, and the right to reprint the song lyrics. While all of these may not be addressed in the pending litigation, it is hoped that the courts will add clarity to the legal obligations for the manufacturers and distributors of karaoke music discs and machines.
Weekend karaoke at your local bar may never be the same again.
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