The LA-based record company Sybersound Records, owned and distributed worldwide by Universal Music Group, has filed a lawsuit against Kamu Ultra Karaoke, a nightclub located within the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, for an astounding $264 million. The lawsuit alleges that the Vegas Strip lounge has been illegally using the instrumental music it licenses by streaming it for free through YouTube.
According to Sybersound Records, they control an instrumental catalog of 75,000 hit songs, including material from popular artists such as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, and Katy Perry, through their business Party Tyme Karaoke. The lawsuit claims that Kamu Ultra Karaoke has been playing Sybersound’s copyrighted catalog without permission since it opened in July 2020. The $264 million in damages and attorney’s fees that the record company is seeking is in part based on the club’s high karaoke room rental charges.
Kamu Ultra Karaoke, a 17,000 square-foot lounge operating 40 different rooms, charges hefty prices for room rentals, with some rooms costing as much as $4,000 a night for parties after 10 p.m. The lawsuit also includes a request for a restraining order to prevent Kamu Ultra Karaoke’s further use of its material.
Peter Haviland, counsel for Sybersound Records, stated that while individuals can enjoy Party Tyme and other karaoke content through YouTube in their own homes and at private events, commercial businesses cannot exploit this content and make significant profits from it without paying a fair subscription license for commercial use.
The three-count copyright infringement lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Central District of California, not only names Kamu Ultra Karaoke, but also club owner Jeff Kim, Venetian parent company Apollo Global Management Inc., and Grand Canal Shoppes operator Brookfield Properties.
A spokesperson for Apollo dismissed the lawsuit as a “blatant grab for publicity,” stating that neither Apollo nor The Venetian owns, operates, or controls the Grand Canal Shoppes or its tenants. This response by Apollo came after Brookfield Properties laid off all of the indoor mall’s remaining living statues and musical entertainment, shedding light on the complex ownership and operational structure of the retail complex.