Back in 2012 some vets just back from Afghanistan turned karaoke night at the Carey-On Saloon into a patriotic bash.
Three weeks later bar owner LsShawn Carey was hit with a $21,000 tab for copyright violations.
"All of a sudden, I was served with a summons and complaint for playing seven songs used for karaoke, and five of the infringements were for Toby Keith's songs," Carey told The Gazette.
Carey said she paid two of the three businesses that look after copyrights, ASCAP and SESAC, but skipped the other, BMI.
That turned out to be an expensive decision.
Copyright laws say any business where music "enhances" a customer’s experience is required to register and pay a fee.
It isn’t cheap. A single establishment will pony up around $4,500 yearly to be legal with all three companies.
In many cases, Carey might have never been noticed but on the night of the party, there was an undercover BMI rep in the crowd.
The company is working out a payment deal with Carey.
In the meantime, she says telling her story is her way to help others avoid a big "ouch" to their bottom line.