Las Vegas Karaoke Bar Sued to Tune of $264M for Skirting Royalties

Posted on: November 22, 2023, 05:58h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2023, 11:24h.

Kamu Ultra Karaoke, a nightclub in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, is being sued for $264M by an L.A.-based record company.

Sybersound Records — a label owned and distributed worldwide by Universal Music Group — claims the Vegas Strip lounge illegally uses the instrumental music it licenses by streaming it for free through YouTube.

private room at Kamu Ultra Karaoke
A private room at Kamu Ultra Karaoke in the Grand Canal Shoppes can run up to $4K a night. (Image: Eater Vegas)

Sybersound, which does business at Party Tyme Karaoke, said it controls an instrumental catalog of 75K hit songs, including material from Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, and Katy Perry.

The lawsuit claims Kamu has played Sybersound’s copyrighted catalog without permission since opening in July 2020. The $264 million in damages and attorney’s fees that it seeks is in part based on the club’s hefty karaoke room rental charges.

The 17K square-foot lounge operates 40 different rooms, which it rents to groups of 6-40. Some of the rooms cost $4K a night for parties after 10 p.m., according to the lawsuit, which also asks the court for a restraining order to prevent Kamu Ultra Karaoke’s further use of its material.

“Individuals can enjoy Party Tyme and other karaoke content through YouTube in their own homes and at their own private events,” said Peter Haviland, counsel for Sybersound Records, in a statement. “Commercial businesses, on the other hand, cannot exploit this content and make big profits from it without paying a fair subscription license for that commercial use.”

Name Game

The three-count copyright infringement lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, names Kamu Ultra Karaoke, club owner Jeff Kim, Venetian parent company Apollo Global Management Inc., and Grand Canal Shoppes operator Brookfield Properties.

A spokesperson for Apollo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that naming Apollo or The Venetian in the lawsuit was “a blatant grab for publicity,” since neither entity owns, operates, or controls the Grand Canal Shoppes or its tenants — a fact many tourists learned last week after Brookfield Properties laid off all of the indoor mall’s remaining living statues and musical entertainment.