The Florida Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a copyright infringement lawsuit that was filed by 1960s rock group The Turtles against U.S.-based SiriusXM satellite radio on April 6, according to the FloridaRecord.
Flo & Eddie Inc., the California-based company whose principals are Turtles vocalists Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, filed a lawsuit in 2013 alleging copyright infringement involving music that had been made before 1972, against SiriusXM for the protection of pre-1972 sound recordings.
According to a previous report on the Florida Record, Volman and Kaylan are challenging the long-held assumption that radio broadcasters are required to pay owners any royalties for their sound recordings prior to Feb. 15, 1972.
The Federal Copyright Act of 1976 states the protections for rights over original musical works, which includes sound recordings and compositions from that date. The Florida Record report said that legislation dating as far back as 1897 provides broad federal protections for musical compositions, but doesn’t address sound recordings.
Previous courts in California and New York found in favor of Flo & Eddie involving lawsuits against SiriusXM. However, a district court for Florida’s Southern District found in June last year that there were no statutes or common law in the state that covers sound-recording property rights made before 1972.
In a report on The 1709 Blog, Judge Darrin Gayle said “Florida is different” compared to California and New York. Gayle said that “there is no specific Florida legislation covering sound-recording property rights, nor is there a bevy of case law interpreting common law copyright related to the arts.”
|Flo & Eddie|
Now, the case was passed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up the issues involving state law.
If, however, Flo & Eddie do win, SiriusXM, the Internet music service Pandora and many others “would owe damages not only to (them), but potentially all other owners of pre-1972 sound recordings,” which would include “every recording ever made by The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, not to mention Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey,” according to a 2014 blog post by Nova Southeastern University copyright officer Stephen Carlisle.