Another pre-1972 copyright claim surfaces

February 2015

Sound recordings, broadcasting, internet


The the ‘pre-1972’ story about copyright in sound recordings in the USA keeps on giving – and now Zenbu Magazines LLC,  the owner of recordings by Hot Tuna, New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Flying Burrito Brothers, is seeking class-action status for suits filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, arguing that services such as Apple’s free iTunes Radio, and Sony’s Music Unlimited – which charge subscribers to access their service – have copied tens of thousands of  pre-1972 recordings onto their servers, transmitted them and performed them without seeking permission or paying performance royalties or licensing fees to the copyright owners. Google Play are also in the firing line, ALTHOIUGH Rdio, initially  named, have now seemingly been removed as defendants. Sound recordings weren’t brought under the protection of federal copyright law until 1972 so are protected by state laws and some services, notably SiriusXM, haven’t been paying performance royalties to artists to play these older works prompting claims from both artists (with Flo & Eddie from the Turtles leading the charge), record labels and collection society SoundExchange.

No Comments

Comments are closed.