The Amusement and Music Owners Assn. of New York, Inc., has filed litigation in U.S. District Court-Southern District against CMG Vending of Union, N.J., Howard Preschel of Bergenfield, N.J., and Laurence Preschel of New York City. This is an action for copyright infringement under the U.S. Copyright Act arising out of CMG Vending’s and The Preschel’s allegedly unauthorized use of AMOA-NY’s copyright-protected location/operator contract.
According to Danny Frank, AMOA-NY Exec. Dir., “The use of the AMOA-NY ‘Installment & Security Agreement’ is a privilege provided to AMOA-NY members in good standing. CMG Vending and the Preschel’s dropped out of AMOA-NY, and discontinued their membership. Meanwhile, they continued to profit and benefit from using these contracts.” Added AMOA-NY Special Counsel Kristin Grant (New York City, N.Y.), “We have in our possession two agreements as evidence of the defendants’ continued unauthorized uses of the contracts after the expiration of their membership with AMOA-NY.”
Grant is demanding that AMOA-NY be awarded a permanent injunction. AMOA-NY wants proof of “the destruction” of all other infringing agreements. AMOA-NY is seeking monetary damages to the maximum extent permitted by law ($150,000).
“AMOA-NY has had three previous lawsuits over copyright infringement during the past several years, where the defendants (non-member operators) realized it was in their best interests to settle.” said Danny Frank. “This latest litigation should serve as another example to vendors and operators that violation of AMOA-NY’s copyrights will be prosecuted and enforced to the fullest extent of the law. Compliance is the best policy,” he declared.
The “Gold Standard of Agreements”
RePlay placed a call to Howard and Laurence Preschel right after receiving the above news to get their side of the story, but hasn’t yet received a return call. Danny Frank, however, sent us further information about their contract and why it’s been one of the better reasons operators have joined their group.
“The AMOA-NY contract is one of our crown jewels of membership,” said Frank. “It’s been copryright-protected, and is the gold standard of agreements. Operators find it has provided them with great value in terms of their business enterprises. Operators are advised that if they drop out of the association for whatever reason, they can no longer use the contracts. Certainly we’re reasonable. If they drop out, we may give them a couple of weeks to get the contracts replaced. We advise them very early on that if we find them using the contract as a non-member, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“Many times, what happens is that these people will deny they are using our contracts,” Frank continued. “When we’ve caught them, we ask to cease and desist, and when we don’t believe they’ve done so, we’re forced to file suit….as we did in this case. There have been three previous occasions over the last several years where operators have not respected our copyright. The AMOA of New York has made a substantial investment in these agreements and they are why the operators use them! It seems paying membership dues to be able to use these contracts is a no brainer. People, unfortunately, claim they don’t use them, but even when we catch them, we make an offer of membership, ask to cease and desist and give them time.
“There have been three times in last several years where this has been tested and we’ve prevailed,” he declared. “I have no doubt we will again.”