Karaoke Industry Under Siege

No matter how much alcohol you might feed me, there isn’t enough on the planet to make me get up and sing karaoke.  Yes, this will be a supreme disadvantage should I ever want to do business in Japan, but I don’t care.  I don’t sing and I don’t dance.  Period.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not fascinated by the whole karaoke industry.  I’m especially interested in this all-out assault being mounted by Sony/ATV.

The defendent in the case is KTS Karaoke, a company that makes CDs and DVDs for karaoke parlours. Sony is suing the company for copyright infringement, saying that the product they manufacture and distribute is illegal because all the proper fees haven’t been paid.  

The number Sony/ATV has thrown around is $1.28 BILLION.  They want all KTS discs turned over to them so they can be destroyed.  And since KTS is a big, big chunk of the karaoke industry worldwide, this could be a problem.

The complaints from Sony/ATV are complex as is KTS’s defense.  The Hollywood Reporter (which is all over the story) reports:

To avoid paying money to record labels for the use of original recorded music, KTS purchases songs that are re-recorded by musicians others than the original band members. Still, mechanical and synch license fees are still due. KTS believes that its suppliers are responsible for attaining these licenses, and that the licenses would cover their own uses. Sony disagrees.

In KTS’ lawsuit two weeks ago, the company alleges that Sony is committing copyright misuse by attempting to collect multiple damage awards on a single work from the upstream producers, the downstream users (bars and restaurants), and KTS, the packager/distributor. KTS believes this alleged bullying “scheme” is unlawful.

Because the karaoke industry is so massive, this bears watching. 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38516 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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