Rock’n’roll pioneer Chuck Berry has sued three leading karaoke music distributors, claiming they sold sing-along versions of his most popular hits without paying royalties or obtaining licenses.
If he prevails in court, Berry stands to gain several hundred thousand dollars for each of his songs, including such hits as “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene” and “My Ding-A-Ling,” his lawyer, Peter Haviland, told Reuters earlier this week.
His lawsuit filed on Monday in Los Angeles names three leading karaoke distributors in North America — UAV Corp. of Fort Mill, South Carolina, Madacy Entertainment of Montreal and Top Tunes Inc. of Hilliard, Ohio. Representatives from the three companies could not immediately be reached for comment.
Karaoke is a sing-along genre that originated in Japan largely as a nightclub novelty. It has turned into a highly lucrative retail business as it increasingly moves from bar and restaurant lounges to family living rooms.
Haviland also represents several copyright holders of lesser-known songs who filed similar actions in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The suits seek royalties that are alleged to have gone uncollected on more than two dozen songs in all.
Unlike many recording stars of his era, Berry owns all the publishing rights to his songs through his Isalee Music Co., his attorneys said.
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