Sirius/XM Settles Copyright Suit by '60s Artists

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Sirius/XM Settles Copyright Suit by '60s Artists

Postby jon » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:52 pm

SiriusXM Agrees to Pay Up to $99 Million to Settle Turtles-Backed Copyright Suit
By BEN SISARIO
New York Times
NOV. 29, 2016

SiriusXM, the satellite radio giant, has agreed to pay up to $99 million to settle a group of lawsuits over an obscure aspect of music copyright that has seen a flurry of litigation recently: recordings made before 1972.

Federal copyright only began to be applied to recordings in 1972, and three years ago members of the 1960s band the Turtles (best known for “Happy Together,” a No. 1 hit in 1967) filed three lawsuits against SiriusXM for playing its songs without permission, claiming protection under state copyright laws in California, Florida and New York.

The three class-action suits, which were filed by Flo & Eddie Inc. — a company run by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of the Turtles, which controls the band’s music rights — have been closely watched in the music industry. On Monday, lawyers for plaintiffs in the case filed papers in a federal court in California revealing the proposed settlement terms, which must be approved by the court.

The deal calls for SiriusXM to make two types of payments to the plaintiffs, which include many independent artists and record companies. For its past unlicensed use of pre-1972 recordings, the satellite radio company agreed to pay a minimum of $25 million, with up to $15 million in additional payments depending on whether the Turtles prevail in appeals that are pending in the New York and Florida cases. In addition, SiriusXM agreed to a 10-year license for recordings by class members, paying a 5.5 percent royalty rate. According to the filing, that amount could be worth between $45 million and $59 million, depending on projections of SiriusXM’s revenue growth over the next decade.

The payments would apply to the owners of any recordings from before 1972 that have been played by the satellite radio service without permission. It does not include recordings owned by the major record companies, which settled their own suit against SiriusXM last year for $210 million.

The settlement still leaves some issues unresolved, including the underlying legal question of whether state laws allow the owners of older songs to control performing rights for those recordings. The Turtles are also pursuing a similar case against Pandora Media.
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Re: Sirius/XM Settles Copyright Suit by '60s Artists

Postby kal » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:59 pm

I thought that the Pandora case was settled earlier.

Here's the article from Rolling Stone on that, back in 2015:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/pandora-to-pay-labels-90-million-over-pre-1972-music-fight-20151023


These are very interesting cases. I'm not sure where this falls in the Canadian marketplace. Having said that, I love my SiriusXM feed in the car. Renewal is coming up. I always mention the dropout problems along Highway 1 and in the area where I live. That's usually all that's needed to get SiriusXM for $5-6 a month. In Vancouver that's a harder sell because of the rebroadcast transmitter and Robson and Burrard.
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Re: Sirius/XM Settles Copyright Suit by '60s Artists

Postby kal » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:12 am

BTW, according to this CRTC filing, Sirius XM Canada is valued at around $230 million.

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2016/2016-468.htm
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