The Turtles and Their Royalties Are Happy Together

The Music Technology Policy Blog has an informative, if less than impartial take on this week’s summary judgment ruling for the plaintiff by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., et al., CV 13-5693 PSG (RZx).  The Court ruled that the plaintiff, a corporation that administers the licensing rights for the 1960s band The Turtles, is entitled to back royalties under California state copyright law for pre-1972 sound recordings, which are exempt from federal copyright law.  Because federal copyright law does not include a public performance right or digital performance right for sound recordings made before 1972, defendant Sirius (and other digital broadcasters such as Pandora) have taken the position that no royalties are required for digital transmissions of such recordings.  This argument, know as the “Pandora loophole,” was rejected by the Court, which held that “copyright ownership of a sound recording under [Cal. Civ. Code] § 980(a)(2) includes the exclusive right to publicly perform that recording.”  The ruling is being hailed as a victory for artist’s rights, and for the principle that musicians should be compensated for the use of their pre-1972 works.  Read the full article here, and the court’s Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment here.

 By 2bgr8 (File:Money Cash.jpg) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

By 2bgr8 (File:Money Cash.jpg) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.