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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sound Choice Using Gestapo Style Tactics?

Sound Choice is a desperate company. Business is down, and they have fallen on hard times financially, so they have begun targeting KJs who are using computers to manage their shows in Arizona, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It is our opinion that Sound Choice is suing KJs for "trademark infringement", without having any concrete proof or evidence as to whether or not the KJ in question actually has purchased a legal set of CDGs. They are hiding behind a bull-shit technicality, regarding the KJ's right to transfer their karaoke library to a computer. According to Sound Choice CEO Kurt Slep, "We do not have the rights from the Music Publishers (who represent the song writers) to grant the transfer of our music from the CDG to a hard drive, that is why we have not licensed "hard drives" per se. HOWEVER, we are willing to not take action (although, nor indemnify) a KJ who chooses to do so for reasons of ease of operation PROVIDED THAT HE HAS A LEGALLY PURCHASED DISC FOR EACH AND EVERY SONG ON EACH AND EVERY HARD DRIVE (or CAVS type ) SYSTEM. That is what we (and KIAA) are referring to as "1:1"."

You may be asking, "how does Sound Choice verify that a KJ has legally purchased a disc for each and every song on their hard drive?". By Sound Choices own admission, they don't verify this PRIOR to filing suit against a KJ, but rather give the KJ the option to submit to an "audit" in order to prove that they are within the 1:1 ratio they require. From all of the research we have done, it is our opinion that prior to filing their massive law suits, Sound Choice has no idea whether or not a given KJ who uses a computer is a pirate, or may have purchased their products.

To us, Sound Choices tactic of filing a lawsuit prior to asking any questions is a highly unusual tactic. In fact, we can't think of ANY other business that sues a customer(with no concrete evidence), and requires the customer to prove that they DIDN'T steal their product in order to be removed from the suit. If any of our readers can point out another business that uses a similar tactic, we would love to hear it. This tactic is very reminiscent of how the Gestapo barged into peoples homes, looking for people who were hiding Jews.

The Audit

If you have been named in a Sound Choice lawsuit, you must submit to an "audit" by Sound Choice. And guess what, Sound Choice won't be checking to be sure that you have legal copies of Sound Choice CDGs either! According to Sound Choice CEO Kurt Slep "if the KJ legitimately has a full set of discs for each and every rig, then after we FILE and notify the KJ of our filing, all he has to do is prove that he has the discs (we will send someone to do a full audit under specified conditions) and then he will not be served and will be dropped from the suit. One of the conditions of the audit, however, is that since we have the right to represent the other manufacturers, the KJ might be
audited for ALL the songs on his system. After all, if we are going to go to the expense and trouble of an audit, both parties should want it to be thorough, so that it only has to be done once and the KJ then won't have to worry about the other Karaoke producers if he is legitimate."

Say what? Sound Choice isn't concerned about making sure that you have bought their products, they want to make sure that you have purchased legal copies of other karaoke company's products! This suggests that Sound Choice's motives aren't really genuine, but rather, they are looking for trouble.

So now, the big question that each and every KJ should be asking themselves, is "should I use Sound Choice products in my shows"? Its a fair question, because the mere act of using their product subjects you to being named in a suit, and all of the time and aggravation that goes into defending yourself........despite the fact that you may have purchased legal copies of CDGs.

And what about the harm to your reputation? Sound Choice damages your reputation the second they name you in a lawsuit. The most recent case in Virginia named numerous KJs in the suit, accusing each of them of criminal acts. Copies of the lawsuit have been posted in DJ and KJ forums all over the country.

Take a look at this video of an innocent KJ who was the target of one of Sound Choices lawsuites:


While Sound Choice offers each of the KJs the opportunity to prove their innocence, the damage has already been done to their reputation. But Sound Choice doesn't care about that aspect - they are a desperate company, using desperate measures which will only alienate their remaining client base.