Jan 24 2011
11:06 am

Various licensing and distribution arms of Big Mama's, the karaoke giant located in Seymour, are suing a number of local bars and restaurants claiming the establishments are pirating Big Mama's karaoke CDs and using their trademarks without authorization.

Defendants named in a lawsuit filed in federal court last week include Jimmy's Southern Pub, Bull Feathers, Prince Grill and Sports Pub, Roger's Place, Paul's Oasis, and Cotton-Eyed Joe's in Knoxville, Cancun Mexican Restaurant, Naterz Sport's Grill, Par-T-Pub, Two Doors Down, Shooter's, and Gunnies in Blount Co., Pucker's and Crawdaddy's in Gatlinburg, and the Roaming Gnome Pub and Eatery in Sevierville. Several individual "KJ" (karaoke jockeys) are also named.

The lawsuit seeks damages of $150,000 per copyright violation and up to $2,000,000 for each trademark violation as per federal law, plus triple damages for profits from unfair competition, plus legal fees, plus seizure of defendants' computer hard drives containing any "illegal reproductions of copyrighted material or counterfeits of registered trademarks."

A copy of the complaint...

Big Mama's is not the first karaoke producer to go after bars and KJ's in the area. A North Carolina company sued three local establishments in Nov. 2009.

KJathena's picture

Big Mama's suing local karaoke bars

YES....Go Big Mama Go...doin the happy dance...get all the pirates

Hank's picture

Sad to say Norbert and Big

Sad to say Norbert and Big Mamas are the pirates in this case. How many artist and/or their management have been reimbursed by Big Mamas for use of their songs?

karaokelover1156's picture

Response to Hank

Artists and Management do not receive royalties from Karaoke music. The Publishers are paid each quarter after a license is obtained and those monies are distributed to the Songwriters. Big Mama's has paid over $3.5M in royalties in the past 4 years and continue to pay quarterly. For the record, they have had licenses since 1989 starting with the Harry Fox Agency then directly with the Music Publishers.

gyverbabe's picture

I was a regular customer at

I was a regular customer at Big Mamas, until they started charging cover charge for children, changed the menu, fired most of their employees. I don't know what's going on with the owner, but the quality of customer service at Big Mama's has gone WAY down, as has the quality of food. I only go there once in awhile now.

Lisa Lake's picture

Big Mama's Lawsuit

What gets me, if Big Mama's wouldn't charge coverage Charge and there food was better and the price was lower, then maybe they would have more customers. That is really what this is all about, they are ticked that there business is going down, well due, look at how you are running your business. I've been there, and was impressed at all. If you want to sing, well you got to wait for over three hours at night if there are kids there and of not then over two hours if there regular customers are there, they always get called up first. Bars have being doing Karaoke in Knoxville for over 10 years now, and Big Mama's just now decides to sue. Not only that, the bars that do Karaoke have to buy there CD's from Big Mama's to do it, since that is the only place in Knoxville that sales Chart buster, that is if they want that name brand. There are also other karaoke cd's that are even a named brand that people can buy. Seems like to me, there is always someone out in the world that wants to do what ever they can to hurt others, just because they are jealous because their business isn't doing as well. Big Mama's isn't what I would consider a fun place to go, but then again that is just my opinion, doesn't mean others feel that way. The lack of business should show them how people feel about going there.

DJ Double-Click's picture

Yeah! Get 'em!

I hope this detracts pirates from selling hard drives, those who purchase them from being able to work, and consumers become educated as to why they should hire a PROFESSIONAL KJ/DJ at a wage that allows them to feed their families.

The Mobile DJ/KJ/VJ industry has been inundated with hacks who have illegal music libraries and charge substandard pricing. Then, the clients who hire these scam artists are ticked off when there event goes in the tubes. A bargain doesn't seem like such a bargain when your event tanks, does it?

Karaoke Jocks can't work in bars for "$50-$75 and a beer tab" and operate a full-time business that allows them to pay their own bills. They have low prices and broadcast "over 50,000 songs". This means (at iTunes type pricing) they are offering $50,000 worth of music, per se, plus the expense of equipment to run it. At $50-$75/ we have any intelligent life out there that realizes there is no way they can LEGALLY purchase 100's of 1000's of tracks, operate a profitable business, and pay themselves a livable wage??

notanorbertfan's picture

Digital crooks

Big Mama Digital Entertainment (and its related companies) is one of the most corrupt businesses in this area. They've never had over 100 people working for them - more like 20 at the most at any one time. The place has been under investigation many times over the years, for things ranging from not paying taxes to producing questionable adult video. Read into that what you will. They've also had legal problems MANY times in the past for not actually having the rights to record or distribute songs on these compilations, and are well known for either not paying the talent that does get suckered into working for them, or bouncing checks when they do pretend to pay.

Really's picture

Did you say they Haven't paid their talent?

I've considered sending them a demo of my voice.. Are you saying that they've not paid their singing talent? Did this happen to you?

JoeBlowFromTokyo's picture

Good Luck

While I am against pirating music, and if I was to host a karaoke show, I would make sure to have hard copies of all my music. The general consensis among the KJs I have spoken to is the problem is with these karaoke companies is greed. They seem to have gotten used to people wearing out their disks, and think you should have to keep paying. Who is to blame for advances in technology, and being able to preserve your expensive disks by putting them to hard drive? Putting your music on a hard drive should not be an issue if you own the original disc. I don't think multiple hard drives from one library should be allowed, but 1 for 1 (1 library on 1 library)seems defensable in court. I myself have had to replace some of my personal discs just from degradation of the mylar backing, although you can still read all the info they stopped playing.
I will say I have sang at over 100 venues or more in my state, and I suspect that more than half are not legit or running multi drives from one library, the people running them are younger, and naive, and some of the others just don't care. They are mostly living hand to mouth, and say they are getting 100-150 a night for a show. There is no way you can maintain a music library, quality sound gear, be insured, pay for a 'soully for business' vehicle, gasoline, pay taxes, and have retirement/healthcare on that kind of pricing. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that 90% are cutting corners somewhere.
I can see suing the ones that multi format, or have no discs at all, since the thefts ad up to such a large amount, the solution may be state licensing, with library inspepctions and fines. Get some legislation passed and stop scaring your very clientell.

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