Oct 15, 2014
Today, a California state court confirmed that, under California law, pre-1972 sound recordings enjoy a digital public performance right. In the case, several major and independent record labels sued Sirius XM alleging that the satellite radio company infringed their copyrights in legacy sound recordings by performing them without a license. The record labels sought a jury instruction confirming the existence of a public performance right, which the Court affirmed. The ruling is the second major victory in recent weeks confirming that digital radio should treat all sound recordings equally. (Read the ruling here.)
SoundExchange’s statement on the earlier victory against Sirius XM, by the Turtles, can be found here).
“California courts have doubled down on the side of RESPECT for legacy artists. It’s unfortunate that Sirius XM forced these plaintiffs to go to court to vindicate their rights and the value of their music. But now there is no question– the legends of Motown, Jazz and Blues, and the artists who gave birth to Rock n’ Roll deserve fair payment for their music – just like everyone else,” said SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe.
Earlier this year, SoundExchange was joined by a coalition of artists in launching Project72, a campaign to ensure fair compensation for those who recorded music before 1972 and in support of H.R. 4772, the RESPECT Act.
“Today’s decision is a major legal victory and once again confirms the existence of a digital public performance right that protects legacy sound recordings. Recording artists and record labels shouldn’t have to bring lawsuits to be paid fairly under the law. This decision makes it clear that Congress should pass the RESPECT Act and ensure that legacy artists aren’t forced to wait through 49 more lawsuits before they are paid for their creative art. The RESPECT Act would rightfully require digital radio to treat all sound recordings equally, regardless of the date they were made,” said Huppe.