Attorney Kamel King is advancing in his career, as he is the on-the-road attorney for the Grammy-nominated gospel group, The Williams Brothers. He is also the sales manager of Terminal Recording Studios, a Jackson-based studio that is not only a Grammy Award Winner, but also has recorded all of Blackberry Records’ (been in existence for 20 years and has major distribution) award winning albums and other national recording artists. What is more, Mr. King has been an associate producer of five Recording Academy-endorsed Mississippi Grammy Legacy Celebration events, “Mississippi Night” at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, the 72nd Southern Governor’s Conference, and the 2009 National Governors’ Association Convention. Now specializing in entertainment and sports law, Kamel King is a contributing author of Entertainment Law for the General Practitioner, the first book of its kind published in MS by the American Bar Association (ABA). King’s contribution to this publication was a chapter written by him on live performance. Recently, Kamel also wrote an article in Savvy Life Magazine entitled, Beyond the Glitz and Glam of the Entertainment Industry.
After taking a tour of Terminal Recording Studios, which has had the likes of The Williams Brothers, Mary Mary, Canton Spirituals, and Jackson Southernaires, just to name a few, record inside of its lavish walls, Mr. King offered his advice and expertise on copyright infringement as well as how to relate this advice to the success of a business. Kamel refers to copyright infringement as “an expression of an artist; anything that is a work of art that is expressed through a tangible medium.” He constantly stressed that infringing upon one’s copyright carries serious statutory penalties. If an individual unknowingly infringes upon one’s copyright, he or she can be sued for statutory damages and profits. However, if an individual knowingly infringes upon one’s copyright, the penalties are much steeper. Fortunately, because seeking monetary damages in such litigations are all civil type cases, one will not face jail time. Unfortunately, when a case is won, it is the case winner’s responsibility to obtain the monetary damages. Regardless if the infringing is knowingly or unknowingly done, an injunction will be given to the infringer. According to Attorney Kamel King, an injunction is a legal notice to discontinue the infringement act.
My business is Kicking Karaoke. It is extremely possible for my company to face copyright infringement charges if the proper licenses and permissions are not obtained for the music. Kamel King offered me two KEY pieces of advice to prevent this from happening. They are as follows:
1. Connect with karaoke licensing companies that can assist in streamlining the process.
2. Pay for licenses with the big royalty-accounting-publishing houses.
a. Broadcast Music, Incorporated (BMI)
b. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
c. Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC)
Kamel advised me to obtain licensing from all three companies, as the songs being used at Kicking Karaoke may be a mixture of all three companies’ catalogs. It is better to be safe than sorry, as Mr. King expressed how aggressive these publishing houses are when it comes to copyright infringement. At times these companies will send an unidentified representative to an establishment to blend in with the crowd and observe what is going on with its business. If the representative suspects any type of copyright infringement activity, he or she will report the activity and will file suit.
In my personal opinion, Kamel King’s advice was extremely interesting, helpful, and relevant to my company. What is more, Mr. King gave an example of copyright infringement that had me completely floored. For instance, if someone purchased their favorite movie Pretty Woman, and had a family reunion with a ‘Pretty Woman’ hour involving 50 of their female relatives watching the movie, this is a form of copyright infringement. Still in shock, I asked Attorney King how could something so minute and intimate be infringing upon someone’s copyright. He explained that purchasing the DVD only gives someone and maybe those in their home the right to watch the movie, but a public viewing of the movie is a different story. This example alone made me think about how extremely careful I should be with Kicking Karaoke. I need to make sure I do obtain all the proper licenses for the music and avoid becoming involved in litigations that could lead to the possible demise of my business.
Readers, did you realize how easy it is to infringe upon one’s copyright? Why don’t you Share In The BlogLedge and post your sentiments about this topic.