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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Welcome To SoundChoiceSucks.com

There is no doubt that copyright infringment is a big problem. We want to be clear that we do NOT support people who have obtained karaoke music files illegally, and want to stress that point up front. However, Sound Choice has taken extreme measures in their efforts to catch people who have not paid for their products.

If you are not familiar with the methods that they have been utilizing in the last year, here is a summary (in our opinion, of course) of what they are doing, based on the statements directly from Sound Choice CEO Kurt Slep:

  1. Sound Choice sends an investigator to a specific region to search for public places such as bars or restaurants that offer karaoke. The investigator visits the establishment, and looks for KJ's who are using Sound Choice music files on computers.
  2. The Sound Choice investigator somehow gets the name and/or company who is using a computer to do their show, and leaves without contacting the KJ.
  3. The Sound Choice investigator visits numerous establishments in the same area, and compiles all of the information of everyone involved.
  4. The Sound Choice investigator has no idea whether or not the KJ has a legal set of CDGs for every computer file they use in their show.
  5. Sound Choice then files a Trademark lawsuit, naming numerous KJ's and business establishments in the suit. They notify the people involved that they have been named in the suit, but do not have them served with a summons.
  6. Sound Choice then gives the people involved the opportunity to prove that they own CDG's for all of the music on their hard drive, by demanding an audit by Sound Choice representatives.
  7. Sound Choice also offers the individuals the opportunity to "settle" by paying Sound Choice $6000.00.

Essentially, Sound Choice is filing a law suit against individuals and bar owners, without knowing up front (one way or another) if the person has paid for their product or not, and forces people to defend themselves, despite the fact that they may have indeed purchased legal CDGs, and merely transferred the music files to hard drive.

19 comments:

  1. I don't see what the problem here is.

    Let them come and sue me. I AM in compliance with the 1:1 rule, and the way I see it, I would be more than happy to show them this fact in front of a judge, causing them undue cost and embarrassment that they didn't get their facts straight before forging ahead with their stupidity. THEN I would countersue them for slander.

    It's quite a bold and ridiculous statement to make in the first place. This could even be considered entrapment in some locations, considering they themselves sell software for such a purpose.

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  2. Does anyone know what is happening with this lawsuit? Those of us in compliance still see ilegal hosts out there working who were named.

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  3. It must really suck to be a pirate and get caught.

    BTW the lawsuit is for trademark infringement (making a copy of said trademark and displaying it without permission) Good Time Karaoke was audited and given that permission. Even if you are 1:1 and running on a computer (again without permission) you are inviolation of trademark and subject to a lawsuit.

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  4. It really must suck being a chip off the old Nigel!

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  5. It must suck to pay for karaoke disks, then after , ask for permission to use them, especially when manufacturers target market consists of 99.999% karaoke hosts. It must suck to have to resort to slandering every Karaoke host to catch the few that were not legit and even resort to stealing their books, in other words, "breaking laws to catch people breaking laws. It must suck being an easy bend over for sound choice and let them take your Fourth amendment under duress. It must suck to be named in the lawsuit, pay them and sign away you rights, then look down at everyone who decided not to lay down, take it in the rear, then brag about it like it's a good thing. It must suck being you.

    Karaoke host's all want an edge, want to put down the next guy, and the ultimate put down is "you're a pirate". Then you are no better.

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  6. If you want to be real about attacking piracy in the karaoke business, this is the best way I have come up with to do it.

    You are "Sound Choice, Chartbuster, Pop Hits" Send your rep. in sing a song off your library, Take a photo or movie of the screen. Afterwards ask the KJ if he can produce the original disk for your song or songs that were sung. Give him 48 hours or until his next gig then give him a chance to respond. Then if he does not produce the disk/s begin the suit process and extortion tactics. This will give you leverage to gain your $6500 demand.

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  7. The worst people in karaoke are pirates who pay off sound choice then look down upon those who decided not to. Whether they had disks or not you should be given the opportunity to show that before you slander the reputations. Most KJ's are good people but there are some real winners who think they are God now that they signed away their constitutional rights to sound choice with no legal precedent's.

    You can write all the legal sounding mumbo-jumbo you want on a CD but FAIR USE LAW is all that matters.

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  8. As a singer This is how I see it.

    Establishments cannot afford to pay what it would be worth to compensate for a REAL collection of good tunes. So In the end this nonsense extreme tactic that Sound Choice gas chosen to take will destroy the Karaoke Concept as we know it.
    Also Dis you know thet Sound Choice does NOT have the rights to reproduce these sings they have in their 6,000 package they are litigating over?? They only have the rights (or no need for them ) In Australia .
    So do not throw stones.

    Lets all go and sing to KAZOO backgrounds

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    1. Establishments that can't afford a KJ or DJ who is running legitimate music libraries Shouldn't be running either one leave it to the venues that can afford it, in the long run the profits will go way up for the better venues. As much as Nigel and Chip (and other pirates) want Sound Choice to fail it just ain't gonna happen. Boys and Girls you have three choices get legit, quit or pay up a lawsuit or settlement. I don't much care which one you choose although I would much rather see you paying up Sound Choice and being under a court order to cease work as a KJ.

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  9. To SC: I applaud SC's efforts to curtail these Laptop Jockeys. I know of 1 KJ running more than one (3 to be exact) systems. That means less gigs out there for the legit KJ! Ive spent thousands of dollars over the years and like SC I get a little pissed when the Laptop Jockey karaoke whores duplicate their hard drives, run multiple systems & work cheap. I get a little pissed at the KJs who dont pay their dues obtain copied music and then take gigs from legit KJs. I can remember when there was only a few KJs in my area. Now theres a whole boatload of Laptop Jockeys!. Then theres the bar owners. I have personally notified bar owners they are employing shady KJs and can be subject to legal action.I've even given them the links to be educated. I let them know I am legit. None have responded! SC I think you should go after the bar owners as a first defense. Since they profit the most and give refuge to rogue KJs. If bar owners dont hire Laptop Jockeys this mess will go away. Because all thats left is the KJ with the disc! SC has recently been in my area of operations and I hope all of the shady Laptop Jockeys are runned out of town. Maybe then I can get steady gigs again and be paid for what Im worth. I dont mind carrying my 3 CD cases, CDG players etc. Ive been doing it for over 13 years! I dont need a program to manage singers & music. I put the slips on my mixer. I can see who's up with no problem. Old Skool karaoke worked then and it still works just as good today.

    SC you ARE guilty of not keeping up with technology. Make your tracks invidually available for download. KJs dont like to spend $30 for a disc that contains 3 good songs. We do it because we had no choice in the past. Now with such sites as Zoom, Sunfly & Buykaraokedownloads we do. I have no doubt this has affected your bottomline. Take a look at what Zoom & Sunfly have done with the marketing of individual tracks and take note. I dislike the rogue KJs as much as you SC but Im not sure that beating them into submission or financial ruins is good for business. Hit the bars first then the KJ. If they dont stop then take legal action. FYI to you jailhouse lawyers Civil Court is a preponderance of evidence meaning SC only needs to prove 51% to win. Lawyers like to do settlements simply because trial is a crap shoot. Buying SC's entire music catalog for $5000 is a pretty good deal considering Ive spent a lot more on CDs and I dont even have the complete library.

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  10. Thank goodness this site exists! Take the time and read some of the lawsuits. Slep is an arrogant ass. It is almost as he feels he had single handedly invented karaoke. I would like to see The Rolling Stones, Who, Pink Floyd, Lady GaGa, Kesha, Adele and so many other great artists run Slep out of the business for pirating their original music!!! Please understand that when someone gets a lawsuit thrown at them it can be financially devastating even when the suit has no merit… Slep is an arrogant asshole…

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    1. So You have Lady Gaga and Adele on Sound Choice disc? Cool what is the disc number?

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  11. I see Micheal is a member here How is Chip's System working out for you?

    Sound Choice Sucks up pirate KJs and spits them out minus some of the money they have been stealing from Legit KJs and Sound Choice.

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  12. Anonymous Feb 20, I don't have anything from Sound Choice and think their hands are filthy... Look up your own disc number in a age where everyone is now PC based memory... Point is Slep has stolen works from brilliant artists, re-performs them and sells them... Does he not?

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  13. I will no longer buy Sound choice music in the future, Was tossed in a suit and now after proving myself Exonerated. Lost My only SHow because of it. Yeah Thanks alot Sound Choice. Hope you lose everything.

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    1. No proof of wrong doing either. Was the most stupid thing I have ever seen.

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    2. Once upon a time(you may or may not remember), when Some Artists, or @ least their lawyers, wouldn't allow them to "publish" the lyrics for backing tracks they bought the rights to, they made a CD titled "Read Between the Lines." I find it ironic, that, that message is directed @ the former customer base, since now even though the discs were sold w/the intent of being used in shows, THE ONLY way to play music borrowed & redistributed by them is if one Joins the new “subscription service,” which offers no more than to lease the entire library. But I didn't buy the entire library, & I don't want to lease what I bought & have in my possession (Neither would you like it, if I sold you a shirt w/my logo, & then yrs later, after it became your favorite shirt I say: “you can own the shirt, but if you want to wear it in public, you now have to pay me $5 per week...”) I don't even mention their company's name anymore, for fear that their law suit happy agents might throw in slander or libel (spoken/written). From the consumer's perspective: “Join our club, & we'll protect you from lawsuits...” “Protection from who???” “Protection from us, of course...” OR try this: W/out issuing a cease & desist order or something of the like, stating “discs you rightfully own, can no longer be used in shows, because our trademark is our ball & we're going home”(can't make any money if people comply), & when we sue you, if you own our discs & feel you're doing right, & you try to stand up for yourself, we'll drag it out in pre-hearings & motions so that when you run out of money & are forced to settle, we'll settle, & you must license w/us for a min. amnt. of time. In TV, & movies, those are usually mafia tactics, referred to as racketeering & extortion.
      I don't do business with shady characters, if I can help it, & even though it seems they've managed to get racketeering & extortion legaly sanctioned, it still seems shady. I've managed to keep a self managed & honest library, even through adversity, for 17 yrs. (nearly 2 decades) & have learned to look for pressed labels, laser etched security markings in later discs & silver (not blue indicating an unprofessionally burned disc).
      Until I can obtain written permission to use ONLY the disks that were sold to me with the intent of being used in a show in my honest, decent library (even after thefts of more than 1100 CDG's), my screens will never see, or provide further free promotion for companies by showing their “marks.” Although some of the songs between those marks are truly missed (I will miss the Mama Parodies, Head Bangers hits & other asstd songs).
      I've obtained permission from 4 producers, to use their products & media shift if I want to, providing of course that I only keep a back up, & 1:1 show ratio, they are mine to use for life. They realise that Law Suits do NOT drive “sales” but rather extortion & that repeat good business comes from repeat good customer service. As mentioned earlier from some bloggers, I too quit being a regular customer of in particular when the ratio of “hits” to songs that might get played once or twice a decade went from 11 or 12 out of 15, to 2-3 out of 15... I didn't suddenly become a pirate... I simply became dissatisfied.
      I don't know what to do regarding companies who can't be contacted for permissions because a)out of business, or b) contact # is OOC?!

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  14. Well...this is uncomfortable...

    When I last visited this blog/forum I was very opposed to restrictions placed upon the KJ's from the manufacturers. I have, over time come to understand a little more about the laws that they are using in support of their cases.

    The most important thing that I discovered is, they are NOT suing for "Copyright Infringement" per se...
    What they are really doing is filing actions based on the "counterfeit" trademarks displayed on our Karaoke video screens from the copied works on our hard drives. This is called "Trademark Infringement" and is covered under an entirely different set of laws.

    Since we can't transfer the CD+G or MP 3 file information to our hard drives without making a digital "copy" which is not protected under the applicable laws, we are inadvertently and unavoidably, digitally counterfeiting the Manufacturers trademark, the public display of which is indeed illegal. Sorry, but there's no way to get around that...Now since we haven't acquired permission from the Manufacturers to reproduce their Trademarked Company Logo, and it IS illegal to remove the logo from the "product" if you are using it for commercial purposes...we're basically screwed.

    That's the way it works, and as unfair as it sounds it is a fact. What did I do you ask? I spent thousands of dollars on the licensed digital sets and wrote it off as a business expense / loss, because defending myself court would cost me much more, for a case I cannot win.

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