Record Labels Sue Pandora for Royalties on Songs Made Pre-1972
April 21, 2014 9:13 AM
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Pandora feels confident and plans to fight in court
Record labels are in the process of suing streaming music provider Pandora for back royalties. Specifically, the record labels want to raid Pandora’s wallet for songs played that were made before 1972.
Last week Sony, Universal, and Warner Music, and ABKCO sued Pandora Media in New York State Supreme Court for playing the songs without a license. The suit alleges that Pandora violated the common-law copyright protections when Pandora used older recordings without permission.
Recordings made before February 15, 1972 aren't subject to federal copyright protection and some industry estimates believe that record labels could be missing out on tens of millions of dollars in royalties from these songs.
“This case presents a classic attempt by Pandora to reap where it has not sown,” the labels say in the suit. “Pandora appropriates plaintiffs’ valuable and unique property, violates New York law and engages in common law copyright infringement and misappropriation and unfair competition.”
The suit that has been filed seeks royalties for music made from the 1940's to the early 1970's and includes artists like the Beatles, Hank Williams, the Rolling Stones, and others. Pandora says that it is confident in its legal position and of course plans to fight.
María Elena Holly, widow of rock 'n' roll pioneer Buddy Holly, pleaded, “Just because Buddy and the other ’50s musicians recorded songs before 1972 doesn’t mean their songs have no value. These companies’ failure to pay the rock ’n’ roll pioneers is an injustice and it needs to change.”
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RE: The dead don't care
4/21/2014 5:40:13 PM
The only way a song is still popular 50-60 years later is if it was wildly popular in the interim, meaning those artists have already made tons of money off of it. (Or at least they should have if they hadn't been ripped off by the studios. If that's what happened, they should be right there with consumers arguing for copyright reform.)
Name one other profession where you can do a job once, and live off the proceeds from that for the rest of your life. Nobody else lives by the same expectations of content creators - everyone else has to constantly work, save, and invest to survive their retirement years. If these artists instead wasted their money on hookers and blow, that's their problem. Not something which warrants a change in federal law to keep them fed. We already have programs for hard luck cases like that - they're called welfare and food stamps.
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