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Thread: Sirius Loses Pre-1972 Music Case

  1. #1

    Sirius Loses Pre-1972 Music Case

    From RadioInk:

    In a summary judgment ruling, U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez found that SiriusXM violated California state laws by performing, without a license, 15 recordings by the band The Turtles dating from before 1972. This news is as bad as it could have been for the satellite company and other digital-only content providers: It means they may now have to pay even more for their content.

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    This was a multi-million dollar lawsuit. It obviously will be appealed, but it's not good for broadcasters, or lovers of pre-1972 music. I expect that if it's upheld, we'll either see less pre-1972 music on the internet, or there will be a surcharge to access it.

  2. #2
    Broadcasters do not pay performance rights (yet!). Hence, won't affect broadcasters, only "digital" transmission sources like Pandora, and Sirius, which is technically not broadcast.

    Interesting question, though. How does California (issue was California copyright law) have jurisdiction over music "performed" by a NY/DC company through interstate means?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tpt View Post

    Interesting question, though. How does California (issue was California copyright law) have jurisdiction over music "performed" by a NY/DC company through interstate means?
    It doesn't. That's part of the foundation for the appeal. There is even a question if this court has jurisdiction over all of California!

    But it does point out why the DMCA is such a terrible piece of legislation, and why it needs to be scrapped.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post

    But it does point out why the DMCA is such a terrible piece of legislation, and why it needs to be scrapped.
    What did you expect from a copyright law largely written by Sonny Bono? Cher (who I would assume knew Sonny pretty well) said that Sonny was of the opinion that copyrights should never expire, that there should be no such thing as a public domain; and as far as he was concerned, we should still be paying royalties to Shakespeare's descendants.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffM View Post
    What did you expect from a copyright law largely written by Sonny Bono?
    The DCMA is a different law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyrig..._Extension_Act

  6. #6
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    Why did the Turtles wait until 2013 to start complaining that they weren't being paid royalties for airplay of their songs? For almost five decades, Elenore, Happy Together, You Showed Me, You Baby, It Ain't Me Babe, She'd Rather Be With Me and other hits have been played on radio stations, in bars and restaurants, and, more recently, on online channels and satellite tv services. Sirius XM needs to urge the government to enact federal copyright legislation that will cover the years prior to 1972 and supersede the regulations of the individual states.

    On the brighter side, Sirius XM can still play all the hits that the Turtles have had since 1972.

    Oh wait.....

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by LARadioRewind View Post
    Why did the Turtles wait until 2013 to start complaining that they weren't being paid royalties for airplay of their songs?
    The airplay on OTA radio, bars and restaurants has been covered by existing statutes. This specifically is about digital performance royalties under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1996. This is money collected by SoundExchange. It's possible they decided to complain under encouragement from SoundExchange. There have been continuous calls for federal copyright legislation to cover pre-1972 music from all parties involved. Artists, songwriters, and all forms of celebrities have visited Congress to plead their case, to no avail. Then again, Congress hasn't passed anything lately, except more vacation time for themselves.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    Nevertheless, the DCMA, the Bono law, and the endless extensions granted to corporate copyright holders have done little more than complicate matters and prevent thousands of works from becoming public domain.

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