Judge gives Sirius XM hope in pre-1972 copyright trial

siriusxm logo canvasLast September, several major record labels filed a lawsuit against Sirius XM seeking damages for the satellite radio company’s failure to pay royalties for recordings made before federal copyright protection was enacted in 1972. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the judge hearing the lawsuit issued a tentative ruling that indicates a favorable result for the satellite radio company. The suit in question was filed last September by Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings, and ABKCO, with the labels arguing that state laws should protect use of the older recordings.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel, who is hearing the case, said Wednesday at a hearing that the cases cited by the labels in their interpretation of the laws involved illicit analog recordings, and thus don’t necessarily apply to the Sirius broadcasts. An official ruling for the case is expected soon.

In a separate case against Sirius XM, a federal judge in the District of Columbia agreed to stay the lawsuit brought by SoundExchange. The delay is due to the district court’s uncertainty over a previous decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in regards to statutory rate deductions the broadcaster made based on revenue from those pre-1972 recordings.

Anna Washenko