Sony, WMG And UMG Sue SiriusXM Over Pre-1972 Recordings
September 12, 2013 at 4:01 AM (PT)
SIRIUSXM may have thought a lawsuit filed by the '60s-'70s pop group THE TURTLES (NET NEWS 9/6), which claims the satcaster played the group’s songs without permission, was an annoyance, but now some major labels have their legal beagles focused on the company.
THE NEW YORK TIMES reports the lawsuits focus on music "recorded before FEB. 15th, 1972 -- when federal copyright protection began to apply to recordings," and notes "a recent string of lawsuits argue that licensing issues tied to that date may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to singers and record labels. If the suits are successful, they could also bring a headache of liability to satellite and Internet radio services."
The three largest record companies have now joined the disagreement, with "SONY, UNIVERSAL and WARNER, along with ABKCO, an independent that controls many of THE ROLLING STONES’ early music rights -- sued SIRIUSXM RADIO in a CALIFORNIA court, saying that the satellite service used recordings from before 1972 without permission. Even though federal copyright protection does not apply to these recordings, the suits say that they are still covered by state law,"notes THE TIMES.
"It is disgraceful, unfair, and probably criminal that SIRIUSXM is stealing monies due to me and other performing artists," singer JUDY COLLINS said in a statement. "Performers should be paid their fair share of the royalties from their songs."
Music from THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, FRANK SINATRA and THE SUPREMES are also mentioned in the suit.
Meanwhile, PANDORA has asked U.S. District Judge DENISE COTE to stop a group "representing songwriters and music publishers from narrowing the scope of licenses that allow their music to be played," reports BLOOMBERG.
PANDORA argued that if "the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS is permitted to change the scope of the licenses, it would have far fewer songs from the ASCAP repertory to offer its listeners than its competitors. U.S. District Judge DENISE COTE said she would rule later on PANDORA’s motion for summary judgment," added BLOOMBERG.
"I am very concerned about unintended consequences," said COTE. "What ruling I give I want to be as narrow as possible."