New York appeals judge rules for Sirius XM in pre-1972 copyright case

Sirius XM logo canvasFlo & Eddie’s see-saw of a legal case against Sirius XM has swung back in favor of the satellite radio company. New York appeals court Judge Leslie Stein ruled that the state’s common law does not protect public performance of pre-1972 sound recordings. Federal copyright law did not take effect until 1972, and The Turtles’ representation has been suing Sirius on claims that state laws are enough that licensing fees should be paid for playing songs recorded before that date.

“It would be illogical to conclude that the right of public performance would have existed for decades without the courts recognizing such a right as a matter of state common law, and in the absence of any artist or record company attempting to enforce that right in this state until now,” Stein wrote in the opinion. “It makes sense that, consistent with its name, copyright prevents copying of a work, but does not prevent someone from using a copy, once it has been lawfully procured, in any other way the purchaser sees fit.”

Sirius XM recently settled its royalty case with Flo & Eddie in California. It also reached a settlement for $210 million with the major labels in June.

Anna Washenko