January 18th, 2013 | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: Cops and Courts, PDX News, Media

Kara-NO-ke: Song Company Slaps Oregon Bars with Trademark Suit

     
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Because its already slobbered over our food scene and pedaled its way through our bike paths, the NYT has reached its next logical Portland story: our karaoke scene is a BFD.

Our Ruth Brown offers her take on that, but there's one other recent bit of information—in the form of a fat lawsuit—that shows PDX may not be the karaoke Shangri-La its cracked up to be.

Slep-Tone Entertainment filed a $10 million suit in Oregon District Court on Jan. 7 against 12 bars and restaurants from Corvallis north to Portland, claiming their karaoke nights amount to copyright infringement.

The suit claims that the KJs at these joints are using pirated discs originally made by Slep-Tone. Now, thanks to pirated discs, the company didn't even clear the cost of production.

From the suit: "Slep-Tone was founded 27 years ago by Kurt and Derek Slep, two brothers with a vision to nurture the development of karaoke in America as a participatory entertainment phenomenon. During that time, Sound Choice® came to be recognized as one of the leading producers of high-quality karaoke accompaniment tracks. The company invested over $18 million to license, re-record and replicate the authentic sound of popular music across different eras and genres of music."

Among those in the Portland area named: Suki's Bar and Grill, which we lauded in our 2012 drink guide for its tunes-in-a-can, Havana West and Lakeshore Bar & Grill in Lake Oswego.

The suit says it asked all of these restaurants for $10,000, and when they didn't pay up, Slep-Tone was forced to legal action to protect its lawsuits.

This isn't Slep-Tone's first time at the karaoke lawsuit rodeo, a quick search shows that in early 2012, they slammed some Las Vegas establishments with a $500 million suit.

In fact, there's even a website, soundchoicesucks.blogspot.com, devoted to the issue and what they say are unfair practices.

 
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