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Complaint Alleges Use of Copied Karaoke Songs Constitutes Counterfeiting

Here’s a case complaining about illegally-copied music, but there’s nary a copyright claim in sight.

It’s all based on trademark and unfair competition law.

In Slep-Tone Entertainment Corp. v. Lady Luck Steakhouse & Saloon Inc., plaintiff manufactures and sells karaoke tracks. It claims the defendant venues and karaoke jockeys (KJs) “illegitimately obtain, copy, share, distribute, and/or sell media-shifted copies of the Plaintiff’s accompaniment tracks” without paying royalties to the copyright owners of the underlying musical works.

The lawsuit, filed in the Western District on July 1, claims this amounts to counterfeiting, since the copies include plaintiff’s SOUND CHOICE registered trademark and the subject discs are “virtually indistinguishable from genuine Sound Choice materials.”

The complaint also asserts defendants’ use of counterfeit karaoke tracks constitutes unfair competition. “Illegitimate competitors offer libraries of tens of thousands of songs, which would have cost $50,000 to $100,000 or more to acquire legitimately, but produce shows for one-third the rates a legitimate KJ can offer. The result is significant financial pressure on once-legitimate KJs to skirt or ignore the law and become pirates, simply to stay in business. Slep-Tone has been forced to undertake this litigation in order to ensure that it survives and continues to produce high-quality karaoke music its fans demand and to level the playing field for the legitimate KJs.”

Defendants have not yet answered plaintiff’s complaint.

Plaintiff recently filed similar lawsuits in the Northern District of Ohio, the Southern District of Ohio, and the Eastern District of Virginia.

The case cite is Slep-Tone Entertainment Corp. v. Lady Luck Steakhouse & Saloon Inc., No. 11-1098 (W.D. Wash.).

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Reader Comments (1)

FYI since you are interested....Oregon is next and in the works...first round in Washington almost everyone paid their fines so far without litigation. Next round for Washington should be published in a few weeks.

Sue Sawyer, a serious karaoke fan and past Pierce County editor for NWKaraoke Guide
September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSue Sawyer

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