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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:18 pm 
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Hey there JD! Boiling it down to it's most base, all opinions aside, I offer this: PEP may not be a legal authority, but they do threaten litigation. All opinions about THAT aside, IF YOU are a working KJ, and PEP or anyone else threatens your boss with litigation, and you can prevent that in some way, they have control. Whether they are the authority or not is up to a court I suppose, but if you are trying to stay out of court to keep your job, they are the authority, LOL. The venue that pays the KJ may not want to go to court, or be a test case, or give an ounce of a crap about piracy or karaoke at all. BUT, if they are threatened, there are only about 5 ways to make that threat null. All these people that hate on those who went thru an audit need to put themselves in the position of losing their job. That is where I was. My venues would have easily dismissed me if I could not fix the problem and ensure their insulation from legal issues.

The easiest path is to simply remove their product. The second easiest path if you are legit is to go for the audit. Everything else is really difficult or expensive.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:20 pm 
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They were kind of a legal authority in my case, as they identified the counterfeit media, and if I continued to use it, they would have been free to sue my employers, who would have terminated me.

I apologize if this thread got hijacked into a PEP discussion. It just worked out that way when the subject of the discs being legal or not came up.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:08 am 
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Harryoke wrote:
RE the 8125 discs: I contacted PEP and they confirmed that SC NEVER re-released the 8125, nor did they authorize Media Plas or anyone else to release it, so it is for sure bogus.

RE Audits: Dont want to start whipping a dead horse, but audits are still happening as venues are being contacted. It is easier for a legit host to do a voluntary audit to assure PEP compliance, to insulate a venue from litigation. Yes, there are areas where that is now moot, and yes, the arguments go on and on ad nauseum about whether or not to audit or not, but, the option is still there, and they are still auditing actively.

When the guy who writes your paycheck is holding a letter from PEP asking what to do, and you want to keep getting paychecks, auditing is one of the paths you take.


8) Yes you can

A. Have an audit if you want to go through the hassle and expense, they aren't free.

B. You can obtain a HELP license, for what they are worth, but then you have to pay every month, for your protection money aka
limited insurance premium, then you don't have to audit, even if you are a pirate.

C. You can just drop the SC from your library and protect yourself and the venue you work for. I did that and had plenty of material
from other sources to fill my books.

D. When you get tired of the karaoke hosting merry go round you can simply retire, something I did after 20 years of hosting, and
I never lost one night of sleep worrying about it SC was going to come banging on my front door. Over 98% of hosts or the
venues they worked for were never ever threatened with any legal process at all. Oh and I never had to pay SC one thin dime.

The horse is not only dead but the vultures have picked the carcass clean and only the bones are left. As far as I know no local venues have been approached by PEP and even Jim doesn't post on this forum hardly anymore. I think he has even lost interest in this legal farce.


Last edited by The Lone Ranger on Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:53 am 
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When you get tired of the karaoke hosting merry go round you can simply retire, something I did after 20 years of hosting, and
I never lost one night of sleep worrying about it SC was going to come banging on my front door. Over 98% of hosts or the
venues they worked for were ever threatened with any legal process at all. Oh and I never had to pay SC one thin dime.

The horse is not only dead but the vultures have picked the carcass clean and only the bones are left. As far as I know no local venues have been approached by PEP and even Jim doesn't post on this forum hardly anymore. I think he has even lost interest in this legal farce.


That would be incorrect. As you are retired, you have no skin in todays game. I however am still out here full time, and YES, the warning letters are still hitting our venues. These scenarios are not from my imagination, but from my real world experience since May of this year when my venues fell on PEP radar. All of this talk is just talk, until you are the KJ holding your venues letter in hand and the threat of being let go from venues you have been at for 9, 12 and 19 years becomes very real.

Your options are not off base at all, but to say that the odds of PEP contacting you do not exist are completely wrong, given that they are actively doing mailouts and planning follow up visits to gather intel for future pending litigation. My venues and I have no worry in that arena, since I took care of it.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:23 am 
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Harryoke wrote:
They were kind of a legal authority in my case, as they identified the counterfeit media, (They have no standing in any legal case for other product, it's all BS) and if I continued to use it, they would have been free to sue my employers, who would have terminated me. (They continue to spread fear uncertainty, and doubt. F.U.D.)

I apologize if this thread got hijacked into a PEP discussion. It just worked out that way when the subject of the discs being legal or not came up.


They only legal action they can bring is for you using burns, and you let them audit them.
I can't sue a KJ for using product I don't own the rights to, and neither can they.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:40 am 
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I have to ask you to walk that mile in my shoes. I also have to ask you to clearly understand the nature of the litigation. PEP was NEVER coming after me. They went after my venues, who basically said, "fix this". To keep working, I follow one of the 5 steps to "compliance".

Telling my venues that PEP has no standing or to take their chances in court is not on the table, nor is it the KJs call. The venue wants to avoid litigation, period, and PEP is not litigating the KJ.

At the audit, only original media counts. If you are found to have counterfeit material, to be fully PEP compliant means removing the counterfeit material. They hold the cards, if you want the permission to keep using their content that you "legally" own on your computer, with the permissions granted in the contract you have with them post audit.

The topic can be argued ad nauseum, but the point is...if you live in a judicial district where the legality is moot, if you are not a working KJ on the street in an area where the threat is real and valid, and if you have not had your employer present you with the choices available to a threatened venue/KJ, then you will never fully understand the issue. There are still lots of us out here dealing with this the best we know how. Most in my area simply stopped using SC or CB...or say they stopped. Whether litigation is further coming is for the history books to decide, BUT the legal climate in FL currently supports that it is likely.

Their legal standing is, if they dont consider you compliant, they consider you a target. I am not a target. Karaoke people quoting theory and opinion on internet forums are a different group than the karaoke people in the real world who are facing the threat head on. To say there is no threat? I cant agree based on my real world experience in my state.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:43 am 
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I would love to hear from other KJs how THEY would HONESTLY react IF they were honest and had all their original media, and their venue was contacted with the threat letter and a 10 day window to take action.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:13 am 
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Harryoke wrote:
I would love to hear from other KJs how THEY would HONESTLY react IF they were honest and had all their original media, and their venue was contacted with the threat letter and a 10 day window to take action.



8) If what you outline is the case then do nothing. Why nothing it would then up to PEP to make the next move, if you are legal you have nothing to worry about just take your discs and paperwork to court as evidence that you have done everything legally possible to cover yourself. The last thing PEP wants is to go to court, what they bank on is both the venue and the host will cave and pay tribute to PEP. Lately there has not even been a peep out of PEP's usual spokes hole. I doubt if you will find many hosts that still support PEP or their legal process. If you have all your ducks lined up all you have to show the venue owner is that you are compliant.

P.S. Technically I still have skin in the game since I do fill in jobs for sick hosts, and also special shows for charities, I don't worry about PEP since I refuse to use SC at all, problem is solved and has been for some years. Oh by the way this is not today's game since PEP has been running this scam of theirs for over 7 years now, once SC's disc business dried up.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:31 am 
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Harryoke wrote:

I however am still out here full time, and YES, the warning letters are still hitting our venues. These scenarios are not from my imagination, but from my real world experience since May of this year when my venues fell on PEP radar.
.



8) If I were PEP I would do the same thing have a mass mailing of venues, and see if the venues would rattle their hosts so that they would either get an audit or start paying for a HELP license. For the simple cost of making a form letter and mass mailing it PEP would see how many gullible hosts they could shake down, or brow beat the venues to hire their own hand picked hosts. In both cases it is just scare tactics, when many cases in California were finally brought to trial, there was no follow through, the hosts that settled before the trial aka suckers paid $5,000.00 a piece. When the trial was held the judge threw out the suit because there was no follow through on the plaintiffs part, and the suit was never renewed. The hosts that didn't pay simply walked and saved themselves five grand, something to think about.


Last edited by The Lone Ranger on Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:18 am 
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Harryoke wrote:
I would love to hear from other KJs how THEY would HONESTLY react IF they were honest and had all their original media, and their venue was contacted with the threat letter and a 10 day window to take action.

This is all pretty simple: simply tell them the way that you are complying is that you are removing their trademark completely from any display.

Harrington's own admission over the years, is that by ripping discs to a digital format you have created "a new product." One in which he has characterized as "counterfeit." The argument that sound choice has so much trouble with is the Lanham act, which requires that there be some type of transaction – or sale – of the trademark counterfeit. That doesn't seem to happen in any of these cases.

However, since it can be argued that you are not licensed to display their trademark – in a digital format – on a counterfeit item, the only way you can protect yourself and your venue is simply to scrub off the trademark. This is of course if you intend to continue to use those song files at all.

Harrington's own attempt in Illinois at trying to sue a KJ/and venues for trade dress went exactly nowhere. And this was even after the KJ had agreed not to use their product – because remember: "a counterfeit product is not a sound choice product."

And I will certainly tell you, Harry, that if sound choice was inspecting a hard drive I purchased for CB tracks from a "legitimate seller" it wouldn't be up to them to determine what is and what is not counterfeit. Your transaction was done years ago prior to them purchasing the rights to the trademark and the owner of the trademark for chartbuster did nothing even if it was counterfeit – you purchased in good faith, from a reputable seller at the time.

What is to stop sound choice from going through your original disks and telling you "these are all very good pressed counterfeit discs!" Nothing.

Remember that when it comes to counterfeiting a trademark, the item or display must contain the trademark. Removing the trademark would be required to avoid litigation.

Am I encouraging people to scrub off the trademark and become pirates? Absolutely not. I am certainly encouraging people to never, ever, ever, sign a contract of any sort with Phoenix entertainment partners that indemnifies them for infringement and puts you on the hook for their infringing products. (if their products were not infringing, why would that clause be in their contracts in the first place?)

Tell me how far they would get if they went into court and said; "yes your honor, they have karaoke and we believe it's ours – but we didn't see our trademark anywhere." by their own admission over the years a ripped track is in fact not their product, but a new counterfeit product created by the KJ. So it can never be theirs.

Phoenix entertainment partners is simply trying to take over this business by using The threat of litigation and binding contracts to do so. it's up to you. If you want to allow them to do that.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:10 pm 
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They can contact any of my venues, all they want. I refuse to use SC product. I am registered for CB. That was only $50. As I have stated, many times. I have 38 SC disks. I am not going to pay $250 to have them audited. I already spent money on buying them. I won't even spend $25 to have them audited.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:42 am 
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Smoothedge69 wrote:
They can contact any of my venues, all they want. I refuse to use SC product. I am registered for CB. That was only $50. As I have stated, many times. I have 38 SC disks. I am not going to pay $250 to have them audited. I already spent money on buying them. I won't even spend $25 to have them audited.


That makes you PEP compliant. Getting back to the original topic, if you were using SC8125 material, you would not be compliant. If you chose to be audited and presented a counterfeit 8125 in the original post, you would not be permitted to use that content.

Ceasing to use PEP content is a path to "compliance" and insulation from "potential" litigation.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:13 am 
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Harryoke wrote:
Smoothedge69 wrote:
They can contact any of my venues, all they want. I refuse to use SC product. I am registered for CB. That was only $50. As I have stated, many times. I have 38 SC disks. I am not going to pay $250 to have them audited. I already spent money on buying them. I won't even spend $25 to have them audited.


That makes you PEP compliant. Getting back to the original topic, if you were using SC8125 material, you would not be compliant. If you chose to be audited and presented a counterfeit 8125 in the original post, you would not be permitted to use that content.

Not exactly correct Harry (with all due respect). You would not be permitted to display only their trademark in a digital format and that's the limitation. Even they don't "own the content" anymore beyond the trademark.

The mistake is "if you chose to be audited" because you were displaying their trademark in a digital format, is an entirely different ballgame.

Their "pirate's license" (HELP license) is a perfect example of the limitation of what they can control. They sold "the content" of their catalog in 2007 and they can only control/license the trademark. This is of course with the exception of the 100 or so songs that were produced after the sale.

I think it's important for KJ's to understand exactly what the scope is that PEP can actually control.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:42 pm 
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c. staley wrote:
The mistake is "if you chose to be audited" because you were displaying their trademark in a digital format, is an entirely different ballgame.


Chip, it might not have been a "Choice" for Harryoke to get audited. As he stated in a previous post,
harryoke wrote:
... The venue that pays the KJ may not want to go to court, or be a test case, or give an ounce of a crap about piracy or karaoke at all. BUT, if they are threatened, there are only about 5 ways to make that threat null. All these people that hate on those who went thru an audit need to put themselves in the position of losing their job. That is where I was. My venues would have easily dismissed me if I could not fix the problem and ensure their insulation from legal issues.

...

All of this talk is just talk, until you are the KJ holding your venues letter in hand and the threat of being let go from venues you have been at for 9, 12 and 19 years becomes very real....
they are actively doing mailouts and planning follow up visits to gather intel for future pending litigation. My venues and I have no worry in that arena, since I took care of it.


It appears that the venues received the threatening letters, and told Harryoke to fix it or get fired. I'm guessing that quitting the business or getting rid of all his SC and CB libraries was not a practical choice for him. And, since he owns all of his original media, getting a HELP license was not an option to even consider. I doubt that Harryoke would consider going back to being Disc-based, so that left being audited as his only (FORCED) option


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:08 am 
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8) That is the whole point it's a forced option, an option that less than 2% of the active hosts have had to make. For over 98% of the hosts this forced option was never necessary. It is really sad that a once proud manu has been reduced to bottom feeding on such a limited scale. The only way to generate sales is to try and scare venues and hosts into using their products and services. What does that say about them, they couldn't find another way to make a living?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:12 am 
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cueball wrote:
Chip, it might not have been a "Choice" for Harryoke to get audited. As he stated in a previous post,
harryoke wrote:
... The venue that pays the KJ may not want to go to court, or be a test case, or give an ounce of a crap about piracy or karaoke at all. BUT, if they are threatened, there are only about 5 ways to make that threat null. All these people that hate on those who went thru an audit need to put themselves in the position of losing their job. That is where I was. My venues would have easily dismissed me if I could not fix the problem and ensure their insulation from legal issues.

True. But even he mentioned that there are "about 5 ways to make that threat null" and his choice was to sign the contract and pay the fee. If that what works for him, that's fine, I'm certainly not ragging on him for it.

cueball wrote:
It appears that the venues received the threatening letters, and told Harryoke to fix it or get fired. I'm guessing that quitting the business or getting rid of all his SC and CB libraries was not a practical choice for him. And, since he owns all of his original media, getting a HELP license was not an option to even consider. I doubt that Harryoke would consider going back to being Disc-based, so that left being audited as his only (FORCED) option

Shall we call the only "forced option" then something like; "trickle-down strong-arming?" in any case, the key word here is "forced." Because that's exactly what it is. Kurt doesn't have to try to chase around the KJ to try to get a few hundred dollars out of them if he can sit simply threaten the venue and let the venue do his dirty work of threatening the KJ.

My method to nullify this threat was simply to drop their brand in order to "ensure their insulation from legal issues." But because of the types of patrons that visit Harry's clubs, he obviously doesn't feel that my solution was a viable option for him. There's nothing wrong with that.

What really amazes me is the logic of their very own Pirate's (help) license. This is an interesting concept because they threaten the venue with litigation unless as one of their options, they agree to infringe on the rights of the "third-party rights holders" and hold sound choice harmless for copyright infringement in order to license the trademark and not get sued.

But then again, ethics has never been their strong point.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:12 am 
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8) Which goes to show all have dirty hands and no one really has the morale high ground, at least as far a manus are concerned.


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