WSJ: 'The Turtles And SiriusXM: Not Happy Together'
August 5, 2013 at 4:22 AM (PT)
SIRIUSXM is facing a lawsuit filed by the '60s-'70s pop group THE TURTLES, which claims the satcaster played the group’s songs without permission.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, "the suit, filed in LOS ANGELES Superior Court this week on behalf of the band’s founding members, spotlights one of copyright law’s oddities: federal law protects only recordings made since 1972. Recordings made before 1972 are protected under state law, to varying degrees, in a handful of states, according to HENRY GRADSTEIN, THE TURTLES’ lead attorney."
The law is seeking at least $100 million in damages.
Why did this suit come about? THE WSJ explains, "until two years ago, SIRIUS regularly sent SOUNDEXCHANGE a log of every song it played -- including songs recorded before 1972 -- along with a lump sum payment the royalties it owed. The non-itemized sum didn’t include pre-1972 recordings, but since the payment wasn’t broken down per song, SOUNDEXCHANGE for years distributed the royalties to all the artists on SIRIUS’ playlists, including the legacy artists, according to a person familiar with the matter. But in 2011 SOUNDEXCHANGE asked SIRIUS to start reporting exactly what it was paying for, and since then SIRIUS has stopped reporting pre-1972 songs, this person said, so SOUNDEXCHANGE ceased paying out on them. That means older artists like THE TURTLES are only now starting to feel the impact."