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Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Discuss any legal issues pertaining to karaoke.
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wiseguy
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Re: Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Post by wiseguy » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:53 am

Are you talking about the ProDub license offered in the UK?



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Re: Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Post by The Lone Ranger » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:58 am

[quote="wiseguy"]Are you talking about the ProDub license offered in the UK?[/quote]


8) It could well be the same, pub license might be British slang for the same thing. I have only seen it described by a few English hosts on forums. For 87 pounds to 212.77, roughly depending on exchange rates a pound today is worth about a $1.50 currently, 130.50 to 318.00 per year. You are allowed to transfer the music to a different format say disc to computer, the more you pay the more tracks you can transfer up to 5,000 tracks. Then you are legally protected as far as the changing of the music format. Like I said it is not a system that is perfect, but rather points us in the direction licensing should be going in this country, at least for commercial licensing.

The main issue is since the first host starting performing karaoke at least in this country it has been sort of a side show. There has been no serious attempt to try and organize it or really regulate it. As a result we have the current situation in the industry where there is no certainty, if you start a karaoke hosting service you will not be sued by some company alive or dead. This would discourage many would be hosts from even thinking about starting a new business. I know as a former small business owner operator, I might have not started a karaoke hosting service, if the present conditions existed, when I first thought about turning a hobby into a business.


At the time I started there was no SC or CB even talking about a legal process to ramp up sales. They were making plenty of money, hosts were earning 200.00 to 400.00 a night. There was no mention of copyright laws, or Trademark infringement. Gradually things changed, the home users of the karaoke disc product started backing up their discs so they could make replacements, and no longer would have to buy expensive new discs. Advances in technology were not embraced by the karaoke discs manufacturers, they all missed the boat. Finally with the illegal HD, everything started tumbling down, down, down, along with the economy in 2008.

We started to see the huge expansion of illegal hosts to the point where they are now 90 to 95% of the current hosting industry. The home user market dried up completely for disc manufacturer's, many went out of business, to the point where there is practically no karaoke disc manus left in this country. The only target left was the out in public karaoke host, he was still making a modest living and at least SC and CB thought here was one last chance to make some money. Thus was born the lawsuits equals sales business model, the last desperate gasp of a dying industry.

If we look at the so called hind sight intent of these former manufacturer's, I say former because most are out of business, and have not made any new products in years; they never intended their product to be used in a commercial setting. Yet all of us that were or are currently using the product in a commercial setting, are we guilty of using the product all this time illegally? This is the so called gray area. This is the area in the law that allows these former manufacturer's to try and legally shake down all hosts both legal and illegal. That is why all hosts need to be covered by a simple operator's license, to insure the you have the legal right to even run a karaoke hosting service type of enterprise. Without the clear legal right to do so you can be sued and the venues you happen to work for.

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Re: Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Post by wiseguy » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:41 am

You are talking about the ProDub license. This is not actually a typical operator license. It is a license specifically for covering those who format shift songs, both standard audio and karaoke (with the graphic right uplift option). It is actually a one time fee which, is to say that you don't have to pay for the format shifting of the same songs twice. The yearly rate is to allow you to add new songs throughout the year and there are different rates for the number of songs you will need to be covered for. I can understand and support this type of venture because its purpose is to compensate the copyright holders of the songs themselves... not the producers or karaoke manufacturers.

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Re: Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Post by The Lone Ranger » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:12 am

[quote="wiseguy"]You [b]are[/b] talking about the ProDub license. This is not actually a typical operator license. It is a license specifically for covering those who format shift songs, both standard audio and karaoke (with the graphic right uplift option). It is actually a one time fee which, is to say that you don't have to pay for the format shifting of the same songs twice. The yearly rate is to allow you to add new songs throughout the year and there are different rates for the number of songs you will need to be covered for. I can understand and support this type of venture because its purpose is to compensate the copyright holders of the songs themselves... not the producers or karaoke manufacturers.[/quote]


8) Well since it is a one time fee and not yearly that makes it even better. It is a place to start and not the end point that I really want to see. Unfortunately we don't live in the United Kingdom and don't have in place such an enlightened licensing system. In this country you can be sued by both the copyright holders as well as karaoke manufacturers hanging their legal hat on the slender hook of trademark infringement. If we accept the view that in some degree all karaoke hosts have sinned , then all potentially could be held liable, and could be sued in civil court.

If we accept that the intent of the manufacturer's was that their product was not to be used in a commercial enterprise, then that means all hosts at one time or another have operated at least in the gray area of the law, and are fair game. The only way to end the hunting season is to come up with a way in which to protect the host, in order that they might ply their trade. It would seem the best course would be to have an operator's license to pay the copyright holders, while closing the loop hole that allows former karaoke manufacturer's to sue hosts for trademark infringement. If that can't be done then to lump the copyright holders and the manufacturer's in the same fee pool, and to make sure all are paid.

If we don't figure out how to do this, then the uncertainty will continue to plague the karaoke industry. It will be difficult for someone trying to do the right thing from being sued by some company. I feel the time has come for some kind of professional hosting licensing type of system.
Without it the chaos will continue, and the various plaintiffs will continue to file their suits, they will continue to take advantage of the gray areas of the law.

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Re: Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Post by wiseguy » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:43 am

The trademark infringement ruling was bullshit and needs to be overturned. The karaoke manufacturers new full well that their product was used for professional performances. That is who they were marketing to. For years the only people with karaoke machines were karaoke hosts. The karaoke manus should not get another penny from those who bought their discs. That is the bottom line for me. If there was a format shifting fee that compensated only the copyright holders I would have no problem with it. But this would take some honest court rulings and ethical laws. But in this country, more than any other, money drives the legal process. What was done in the UK will not be nearly as easy to accomplish in the US. So don't hold your breath. In the meantime we need to just do what it takes to not let those like SC win.

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Re: Has The Time Come For A Simple Karaoke Operator's License?

Post by The Lone Ranger » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:18 pm

8) I'm old anyway I will be 70 in July, you are right that I should not hold my breath, although every one to me is important. The best hope for hosts is that ASCAP will manage to get Congress to change our old fashioned copyright laws. If not don't plan on seeing any new karaoke music manufacturing in this country for a good long while. It would be nice if we could get to a point where one license would cover a host and protect his or her business. Of course that would be to easy a solution, then all the lawyers would go hungry or have to go back to chasing ambulances or even worse get a real job. :shock: :shock: :shock:

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