SiriusXM Loses Ruling On Copyright Liability For Pre-1972 Recordings In California
September 23, 2014 at 7:36 AM (PT)
U.S. District Judge PHILIP GUTIERREZ has ruled that SIRIUSXM RADIO must pay copyright fees for pre-1972 recordings. The ruling granted summary judgment in the case brought by THE TURTLES -- MARK VOLMAN and HOWARD KAYLAN, suing as FLO AND EDDIE INC. -- alleging that the satellite service's playing of their pre-1972 music violated CALIFORNIA state laws.
The dispute could extend to all digital music services; PANDORA is a defendant in a similar suit.
The suit hinged on the idea that state laws cover pre-1972 recordings, which are explicitly not covered under federal copyright law. The court noted that CALIFORNIA law applies and a specific statute, section 980(a)(2) of the state Civil Code, extends protection to authors of works made prior to FEBRUARY 15th, 1972 through FEBRUARY 15th, 2047. And the ruling suggests that the copyright owner of pre-1972 recordings has the exclusive rights to publicly perform or use the recording.
The court denied summary judgment on the plaintiff's claims that the reproduction of the music through digital copying constituted another violation.