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Las Vegas karaoke nightclub hit with copyright infringement lawsuit

Updated November 22, 2023 - 3:09 pm

A Los Angeles record company is suing a karaoke club at The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes for $264 million, accusing it of illegally playing music the company owns.

Sybersound Records Inc., doing business as Party Tyme Karaoke, is accusing Kamu Ultra Karaoke at The Venetian of playing the company’s licensed music through YouTube.

“Rather than pay for a commercial business subscription to use Sybersound/Party Tyme’s sound recordings lawfully via the Party Tyme Karaoke Pro Streaming Service — which was offered by Sybersound to Kamu/Venetian — Kamu/Venetian instead has chosen to engage in naked theft and piracy, unlawfully accessing Party Tyme Karaoke content through YouTube,” the lawsuit says.

“Customers at Kamu/Venetian are expressly instructed by Kamu/Venetian employees on how to access their preferred karaoke songs on tablet computers at the lounge through Kamu/Venetian’s YouTube service,” it said.

Sybersound, a record label owned and distributed worldwide by Universal Music Group, filed the copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The lawsuit names Kamu Ultra Karaoke; Jeff Kim, the owner of the club; Venetian parent company Apollo Global Management Inc.; and Brookfield Properties, operator of the Grand Canal Shoppes.

Representatives of the nightclub did not return calls requesting comment Wednesday. Brookfield Properties also did not respond to an inquiry.

A spokesperson for Apollo said the company has nothing to do with oversight of the nightclub.

“Neither Apollo nor The Venetian Resort owns, operates or controls the Grand Canal Shoppes or its tenant, Kamu Ultra Karaoke,” the spokesperson said Wednesday in an emailed statement. “Naming an unrelated party in such a lawsuit is a blatant grab for publicity.”

The three-count complaint accuses the defendants of willful copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement.

The lawsuit seeks at least $264 million in damages and attorney’s fees and also asks the court for a restraining order to block further use of the plaintiff’s federally registered copyrighted sound recordings.

The plaintiff says Kamu has played its music without permission for at least three years and that the nightclub charges an admission fee, with certain rooms charged out at a minimum of $4,000 after 10 p.m.

Sybersound, according to the lawsuit, offers a subscription-based streaming service for a licensing fee and is used in more than 4,000 nightclubs and restaurants.

“Sybersound is known for having the best-sounding karaoke recordings on the world market, which are regularly licensed for ‘The Voice,’ ‘American Idol,’ ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ‘Carpool Karaoke’ and dozens of other TV shows,” the lawsuit states.

The company says its catalog consists of 75,000 of the biggest hit songs of all time from all genres and in various languages. Some of the artists in its songs include Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Rihanna, Imagine Dragons, Pink, BTS, Dua Lipa and Katy Perry.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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