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SiriusXM sued by major labels over pre-1972 recordings

The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra are named in the suit

The three major record labels — Sony, Universal and Warner, along with ABKCO, an independent label that controls much of the Rolling Stones catalog — filed a lawsuit in California against SiriusXM Satellite Radio over pre-1972 recordings.

The suit states that the sat rad broadcaster used recordings before 1972 without permission. The New York Times reports that even though federal copyright law, which began protecting musical recordings on February 15, 1972, doesn’t protect these recordings, the suit say they are still protected by state laws.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and a declaratory judgment about the rights involved in pre-1972 recordings.

The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and the Supremes were all named in the suit.

SiriusXM has been at the receiving end of several lawsuits, including one recently filed by the band the Turtles, who had a number one hit with “Happy Together” in 1967. The band and their royalty agent SoundExchange filed a similar suit seeking as much as $100 million in damages.

The major labels’ and Turtles suits differ just a little, but each underscores the importance of the music industry. The Turtles suit could take months to establish since it was applied for class-action status, but the major labels are looking to get a ruling very quickly as they are looking to control the issue on their own terms.

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