SiriusXM Sued by Record Labels Over Airplay of Pre-1972 Classics

Major record labels have filed suit against SiriusXM, claiming that the satellite radio giant has failed to recompense them for the airplay of thousands of classic recordings made before 1972.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, contends that SiriusXM owes compensation to the labels and the entities representing artists including the Rolling Stones, the Animals and Sam Cooke.

Although federal copyright law wasn’t extended to sound recordings until 1972, such performances are covered by California common law and state statute, the labels contend in the suit.

The lawsuit was filed by Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings and Warner Music Group, as well as ABKCO, the label representing a variety of musicians.

The suit notes that a “significant portion of SiriusXM’s channels feature classic sound recordings, including channels exclusively devoted to performing recordings from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.”

The suit also contends that SiriusXM has reproduced the recordings — from a long list of artists including the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin and the Supremes— and copied them to its servers for transmission to its subscribers. While SiriusXM compensates artists for post-1972 recordings, it refuses to pay public performance royalties for music before then, the suit states.

The litigation, filed by Russell Frackman, Marc Mayer and Emily Evitt of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, notes that California courts first recognized a common law property right in pre-1972 recordings in a 1969 case involving Capitol Records and a company that made duplicate recordings and put them up for sale. The state passed a law in 1982 to provide statutory protection to such works.

Among other things, the suit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against SiriusXM, compensation for the “unlawful proceeds” attributed to the use of the pre-1972 music and punitive damages.

A spokeswoman for SiriusXM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

More Music

  • Maluma

    A Reluctant Maluma Finally Finds the Screen Role He's Been Waiting for

    It seems like everyone wants a piece of Maluma these days, but the 25-year-old Colombian superstar has played hard to get when it comes to making the transition to the big screen. The singer has been picky in turning down possible crossovers — but an offer to be paired with Jennifer Lopez has caught his [...]

  • BTS61st Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, Los

    MTV VMAs Have Created a K-Pop Category ... and Some BTS Fans Are Livid About It

    The MTV Video Music Awards have added a new K-pop category this year, but if you thought that expansion would please a plurality of BTS fans, think again. BTS fans have taken to Twitter and other social media to charge that it’s actually a racist or xenophobic move designed to ghettoize their favorite group and [...]

  • Lizzo Warner Chappell

    Lizzo Signs Publishing Admin Deal With Warner Chappell

    Lizzo has signed a global administration deal with Warner Chappell Music. The agreement covers her existing and future work, including the breakout hit “Juice” and follow-up “Truth Hurts” from debut album “Cuz I Love You.” Speaking to Variety of the success of “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo recently said: “I love being platinum. I worked so hard. [...]

  • Dr Dre Selling Woodland Hills Mansion

    Dr. Dre Seeks Sale of Woodland Hills Mansion

    A lavish mansion in a quietly ritzy, guard-gated enclave discreetly nestled into the rugged foothills above L.A.’s Woodland Hills, long owned by Andre Young, aka rapper, record producer and near-billionaire entrepreneur Dr. Dre, has come for sale at $5.25 million. Dre himself, worth about $800 million, according to Forbes, hopes to more than double his [...]

  • Iggy Azalea

    Iggy Azalea on Album Delays, Twerk Pits, Trolling and Going 'More Tongue-in-Cheek'

    Iggy Azalea just unleashed her first album in five years, and the title speaks for itself. “In My Defense” sees the Australian pop star talking back, taking control of her masters and giving self-confidence to her fan base across the world. Azalea — real name: Amethyst Amelia Kelly — made a name for herself with [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen-Codirected 'Western Stars' Film Will Premiere in Toronto

    “Western Stars,” the film that Bruce Springsteen has made to accompany his recent album of the same name, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, it was announced Tuesday. The feature is being listed as a co-directing project between Springsteen and his longtime filmic collaborator, Thom Zimny, who just picked up [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content