Sirius XM plans appeal of pre-1972 copyright case ruling

gavel canvasFollowing the recent copyright ruling in favor of The Turtles, Sirius XM said it will appeal the decision. “We think Judge Gutierrez is wrong,” Sirius CFO David Frear said at a conference this week. “We’ve been observing the law since we started service.” Frear said that the pre-1972 ruling has much broader implications than for just the satellite radio company.

In a decision on Sept. 23, U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez ruled that Sirius XM is responsible for copyright liability for recordings made prior to 1972. His decision granted protection to those early recordings under California law, and opened the door for The Turtles to receive $100 million in damages for their music being broadcast on  Sirius XM satellite radio.

Harvey Gradstein, a lawyer representing The Turtles, said that Sirius will need to face trial on damages unless both the judge and the appellate court allow a direct appeal. Due to the complexity of these copyright issues, and the law’s notoriously slow response to improvements in technology, it seems likely that we’ll be watching this case unfolding for quite some time.

Anna Washenko