Safe Harbor for Venues
If you own or operate a venue (bar, restaurant, club, etc.) and hire outside operators to bring in karaoke music and put on karaoke shows there, you may be eligible for our free Safe Harbor for Venues program.

Venues that participate in Safe Harbor permit us to screen and evaluate the licensing status of the operators they hire. In exchange for abiding by our findings regarding the licensing status of their operators, venues are not held liable for infringement of our intellectual property on their premises.

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Safe Harbor

Always free
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IMPORTANT: This program is only for venues that hire outside providers (hosts) to bring in karaoke music to put on karaoke shows for the venue's patrons. If you, the venue owner, supply the music, you are not eligible for this program. Instead, you should consider one of our licensing programs, or you can contact Customer Care for more information about what is required for legal operation.
Consider Hiring a Licensee
The Safe Harbor program is designed primarily for venues that hire karaoke operators who are not yet Sound Choice licensees. If you haven't yet hired a host, you might consider hiring a Sound Choice Licensee instead. You can find licensees in our Licensee Directory. Using a current Sound Choice licensee means that you are covered when that licensee plays karaoke at your venue. Whether you hire a licensee or not, registering for Safe Harbor and following the terms of the program is one of the best ways you can promote legal karaoke.

Why register?

It can be hard to tell if your host is using pirated music—but Safe Harbor makes it easy.

Registering for Safe Harbor tells us that you're serious about hosting legal karaoke in your venue. It takes about five minutes, but it keeps you from having to worry about whether your operator is following the law and our policies.

Help us keep you out of court.
Piracy is rampant among karaoke hosts. We estimate that more than 90% of all karaoke hosts in the United States use pirated music to some extent. Venues that don't take steps to make sure their hosts aren't pirates are exposed to liability for that piracy.

We fight against piracy in a number of ways. For now, our most important tool is the court system. We sue the people who distribute pirated music, and we sue the people who use and benefit from pirated music—including the venues that hire pirate karaoke hosts.

You have a legal responsibility to stop pirated music from being played in your venue. We want you to keep the music going. We just want that to happen legally.
Don't believe the myths.
MYTH    "You can't sue me because my host is an independent contractor."

As far as the law is concerned, that usually doesn't matter, as long as you participated in or promoted the infringing activity, or if you knew or should have known about the infringement and benefited from it. The bottom line here is that you have the right and ability to supervise your contractor's activities, and that makes you responsible for them. We are more than happy to litigate over that question, but doesn't it make more sense for you to sign up for this free program and cooperate?

MYTH    "My host says he's legal, and that's good enough for me."

It may well be that your host is a fully legal operator. But if your host lied about that, he or she wouldn't be the first one to do so. Are you willing to bet your business, or at least having to go through a lawsuit, on trusting your host? Our process allows you to verify that your host is actually legal and protects you if he or she isn't.

MYTH    "I already pay ASCAP and BMI, so I'm covered."

It's true that ASCAP and BMI collect performing rights royalties for music publishers. But they don't collect for us. You should continue to pay these companies the royalties they require. But if you use an unlicensed operator who plays Sound Choice or Chartbuster tracks at your venue, you can and will be held responsible, whether you pay ASCAP and BMI or not.

As always, if you have concerns, talk to us. You'll be glad you did.

How Does It Work?

As part of your registration, and every time you hire a new karaoke host, you provide us with contact information for the karaoke operator you hire. We contact the operator, discuss their potential use of Sound Choice® and Chartbuster Karaoke® tracks, and help them get legal and compliant if they aren't already. If we're unable to get them compliant (usually because they refuse to do so), we'll notify you and request that you find another operator—or, if you like, we can help you find someone.
Isn't It About the Money?
You bet it is. It cost us a lot of money to make the karaoke tracks we sell and license, and to pay for the rights to do so. We make money by licensing our music to karaoke hosts and venues. When people steal instead of buying, it's not fair to us, to the songwriters we pay royalties to, or to our customers, who spend their hard-earned money to do what's right.

But it's not just about money. After all, this program is 100% free.