Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Court rules copies of karaoke CDs did not violate trademarks

Many people in New Jersey have witnessed karaoke performances and perhaps participated in some. As theyknow, karaoke performances generally rely on the use of altered musical recordings. In 2016, a company that makes karaoke CDs sued a company that hosts karaoke shows for trademark infringement.

Slep-Tone Entertainment filed a trademark complaint against Wired for Sound Karaoke and DJ Services. According to Slep-Tone, Wired for Sound violated the Lanham Act by copying files from Slep-Tone CDs onto computer hard drives without obtaining authorization. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled in favor of Wired for Sound, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has affirmed the lower court's decision.

The Lanham Act was enacted to allow parties to pursue remedies for trademark infringement. To prove that a trademark has been unlawfully infringed upon, an individual or company must show that there is likely to be confusion about the origin of a new good. In the karaoke CD claim, the courts determined that copies of the karaoke CD were not a 'good," and consumers would not be confused about their origin.

Trademark law can be difficult to interpret, and many trademark issues must be taken on a case-by-case basis. People who believe that some of their company's trademarks have been used without permission may want to speak with an attorney about their concerns. An attorney may be able to look at the trademark and the alleged infringement and then let the business owner know whether a complaint is worth pursuing.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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