Thursday, September 5, 2013

SiriusXM Hit With Fourth $100K Lawsuit

For a long time, it's been assumed that SiriusXM has the right to distribute and perform pre-1972 recordings.

Then last month, Flo & Eddie of The Turtles brought a proposed $100 million class-action lawsuit against the satellite radio giant, premised on the theory that because sound recordings didn't fall under federal copyright protection until 1972, the SiriusXM couldn't rely on statutory royalty rates for these older tunes.

According to THR, the initial lawsuit from Flo & Eddie was filed in California, but if state law rather than federal law applies, why stop there? In fact, Flo & Eddie haven't. After filing action in California, the plaintiffs filed another lawsuit in New York. And now, Flo & Eddie have struck a third time, with another proposed class action lawsuit against Sirius in Florida court. The Turtles are crawling across the nation.

Together with a lawsuit filed last week by SoundExchange, which alleges in its own $100 million lawsuit that SiriusXM shouldn't have subtracted pre-'72 recordings from gross revenue calculations, this marks the fourth whopping lawsuit that Sirius has seen in the past month.

Also, this latest action in Florida court isn't really for just $100 million. Try three times that amount.

SiriusXM was contacted by The Hollywood Reporter for a response to the litigation, but so far, it has been mum. There likely will come some argument from SiriusXM on why state laws are pre-empted by federal statutes and it has authority to distribute and perform pre-'72 recordings without the express permission of the rights owners.

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