RIVERHEAD, NY -- The Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York Inc. said it has filed lawsuits in New York State Supreme Court against two operators for violating AMOA-NY's copyrighted location contracts. The separate suits seek monetary and punitive damages from American Vending (Massapequa), owned by Richard Overals, and Manhattan Amusement, owned by John Cullen.
AMOA-NY's special counsel, Eryn Deblois of Campolo, Middleton, McCormick LLP, said it has proof that American Vending and Manhattan Amusement have "willfully and unlawfully" used AMOA-NY's copyright material.
In addition to monetary and punitive damages, AMOA-NY said it demands that both operators cease and desist in their use of contracts at any locations that may infringe on AMOA-NY's copyrights. The association is asking the court to force the operators to prove that they are no longer using AMOA-NY's contracts at locations on their routes. However, agreements created with the unauthorized contracts between the errant operators and any locations likely remain valid.
AMOA-NY executive director Danny Frank said that several months ago operators in the Tri-State Area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) were notified by mail that AMOA-NY nonmembers do not have the legal right to use the organization's copyrighted contracts. It recommended that operators who were should "cease and desist" using them. "The communication forthrightly stated that any operators found in violation of AMOA-NY's copyright would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Frank said.
Frank suggested that one way to bring about legal compliance was for nonmembers to join AMOA-NY, which would grant them legal access to AMOA-NY's copyrighted material. He added that the association is willing to charge a fee to a nonmember for use of its copyrighted contract.
Frank did not say how much in damages it is asking from Overals and Cullen. "The amount will be determined by the court," he said.
"It is grossly unfair for nonmembers of AMOA-NY who do not pay dues to take advantage of AMOA-NY's expertise, efforts and copyrighted business tools -- all of which have meant an investment on the part of dues-paying members," the executive director said. "The AMOA-NY copyrighted location contract is considered 'the gold standard' -- and this is an important benefit that members receive for belonging to AMOA-NY."