(Reuters) — 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 on Nov. 9.
His lawsuit filed on Nov. 7 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.
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.
A New York Times article in May estimated the collective revenues generated by karaoke record labels at $50 million a year.