Major Labels Sue Sirius XM Over Pre-1972 Recordings

SIRIUS XM RADIO LOGOOn Wednesday (Sept. 11), Sony, Universal and Warner, along with ABKCO (a company that controls many of the Rolling Stones’ early music rights) sued Sirius XM Radio in a California court, alleging the satellite service used recordings from before 1972 without permission, according to the New York Times. Though federal copyright protection does not apply to these recordings, the suits claim pre-1972 recordings are still covered by state law.

The suit is the third major complaint filed against Sirius XM in recent weeks. The band the Turtles, best known for the 1967 hit “Happy Together,” and royalty agency SoundExchange filed similar suits last month. Each seeks up to $100 million in damages. The labels’ suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages and a declaratory judgment about the rights involved in pre-1972 recordings.

Other artists mentioned in the suit are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and the Supremes.

Satellite radio service Sirius XM has 25 million subscribers. Last year, Sirius XM earned $3.4 billion in revenue, according to its annual report, and paid eight percent of gross royalties revenue to record labels and performers.

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Category: Featured, Financial/Legal, Label, Radio

About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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