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bdayton June 14th, 2004 11:29 PM

General Legal Issues
I realize that it has been discussed to death here and other places but thus far the answer to many of the variations of the question remain vague. “What is legal and what is not legal”?

In some cases, the answer is, or should be fairly obvious. In other cases, however, the correct answer seems to be hard to come by. I am often directed to other web pages and links that go on and on and on about this or that but never seem to come right out and say yes or no.

I am not a lawyer and never want to be one. I don't want to learn legalese. I just want to do a karaoke show but, I want it done above board and legitimate. (At least to the best of my knowledge). Let me give you a scenario. Can somebody with actual knowledge please just tell me if it is or isn't.

Example 1:

Somebody brings in a self-burnt karaoke CDG. (Happens all the time). Just because I am the kind of person that is sensitive to these issues, I ask if s/he owns an original of the song(s) s/he wants to sing off the CDG. If s/he tells me no or otherwise indicates that the song is pirated, as we understand piracy, and I play it anyway..... Is the customer gonna burn? (Y or N). Am I? (Y or N).

Example 2:

Same as Example 1 but in this case, s/he says yes or otherwise gives me no reason to suspect that the copy is pirated. The song turns out to really be pirated and I just played it. Is the customer gonna burn? (Y or N), Am I. ? (Y or N).

Example 3.

Again, same as Example 1 but the copy really is of the customers bought and paid for original. Am I gonna burn? (Y or N)

In examples 1 and 2, The customer should burn, as the copy was pirated. That one is not too hard to figure out. In example 3, the customer is okay because s/he actually does own a bought and paid for original. (Even if I don't actually have to see the original).

As the karaoke host:

I see no problems in example 3.
The customer owns a bought and paid for original and I can play that customers copy of it for that customer any time s/he wants me too.

I'm not so sure about example 2.
I am not a cop and I sure don't want to play one. (Too busy trying to play a KJ). Even if I don't ask, If the customer lies to me or otherwise gives me no reason to suspect, I have no reasonable means of knowing that the copy was pirated.. If “The Man”, should happen to be there and catches this, I can see the customer getting burned, but would I?

If I don't, then I probable should in example 1.
I asked and/or the customer came right out and told me that the song was pirated. If I play it anyway, do we both burn? My guess is “Yes”.

What do y'all think? Does anybody actually know?

bdayton June 17th, 2004 04:15 PM

I'll take the lack of a response to mean that nobody knows the real truth about what is and is not legal in these cases. It is all hear-say and reasoned guesses.

Which, of course, is why many of us are running scared of the manufactures and the recording industry. They can claim that anything is illegal and all we have to challenge them with is street lawyers and hear-say. :(

The fact that nobody has yet, (to the best of my knowledge), reported anyone ever having been convicted, or even charged with violations of this kind, does give me some level of comfort... but only some.

What I hate most of all, is having to constantly be looking over my shoulder in fear that what I THINK is legal, is actually not.... And no reasonable means of finding out for sure. :(


quaizywabbit June 17th, 2004 07:51 PM

perhaps a way to feel more confident is to request that your customers "burnt" discs have their own name printed on it in permanent marker- so there's absolutely no question as to who it belongs to, and who's responsible for owning the original.

Just keep a permanent blackmarker on hand so you dont have to turn them away.

redxiiidave December 5th, 2004 10:12 AM

Re: General Legal Issues
As far as I know, and I have researched this extensively, the "customer" would never be responsible for any legal repercussions. The KJ would, if there were ever any, which I highly doubt. This issue has been scaring the bejeesus out of too many KJ's for too long. In 15 years, knowing about 10-12 KJ's of all levels of "legality", I've never heard of one being prosecuted. There are bigger fish to fry for The Man. Let your conscience be your guide. If you believe the disc to be pirated, don't play it. If you don't have a good reason to believe it's not legit, don't sweat it.

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