Pandora Accused of Cheating Thousands of Older Artists…

Recording labels are now suing Pandora in New York State Supreme Court for refusing to pay any royalties on these artists’ works.  All of these recordings were released prior to 1972, which Pandora argues isn’t covered by federal copyright and therefore not worthy of any royalty payment whatsoever.

This is just a partial list of the songs in question.

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32 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    The worst part is they may get away with it.

    But it says everything you need to know about Pandora.

    • TuneHunter

      Actually the worse part is that they could make millions of dollars on those tunes.

      All they need is to lobby-in small change to “fair use doctrine” and remove music pimps like Shazam, Goole Music Search or Google music ID from this prostitution circle.

      Next, morning Pandora could become 5 billion dollar music store.

  2. Dry Roasted

    Tim Westergren said Pandora would make more money for artists if they lowered the rates. So I guess these artists are making the most?

    • PiratesWinLOL

      Do you seriously think Alice Cooper should STILL be paid for singing “I’m Eighteen”? I mean, the guy is properly 100 years old now.

      • Anonymous

        I know. Someone is going to say something thing like “it is like an IRA”, ignoring that artists can also start IRAs. The vast majority of hard working people out there don’t actively get paid for work they did literally 50 years ago, and that does feel unfair as hell. At some point we have to be like, you have to like, work, if that means contributing more music to the culture. Or live off your savings like everyone else has to do.

        • Chris H

          That record has a residual value, that it is an asset, it’s not a “job”. When you compare it to work, how do you define that? A plumber comes in an does a job. A real estate developer owns the house. So, by your logic, the developer should stop charging rent after a certain amount of time, since they bought the house 20 years ago?

          • Anonymous

            Ah yes. But the real estate developer also pays a metric shitload of money every year in property tax.

          • Anonymous

            Comparing real estate to copyrighted works? Apples and oranges. Besides the already mentioned “metric shitload of property tax”, let us not forget there is a million and a half rules and regulations about what you are allowed to do you with “your” property.

            As far as true sovereignty over real estate is concerned, the nation has all the real sovereignty. Which it delegates a little bit to the state, which delegates a little to county, which delegates a little to city, which delegates a little to you, the “property owner”. The regime around copyrighted works are far less onerous.

  3. PT

    The lawyers that represent some of these artist with the profile of the ‘Stones’ and ‘Who’, ‘Beatles’ should have no trouble giving Pandora a Sh&% Kicking.

  4. Casey

    The labels are the ones who insisted recordings prior to 1972 are not covered by DMCA in the Grooveshark lawsuit. They helped dig this hole. Both the labels and Pandora seem to have a case here. It will be interesting.

    • jw

      In the Grooveshark case, & also in the MP3tunes case. Only the courts ruled in both cases that the DMC does cover recordings prior to 1972.

      I would be surprised if they got away with this, honestly.

    • smg77

      Exactly. The labels came up with this system so I’m not sure why Pandora is being maligned.

  5. Joe Copyright

    Copyright was originally 14 yrs + 14 yrs, for total of 28 years protection for creators.

    This exclusive right to copy was temporary, because the concept was intended to benefit *both* creators *and* the public. The public benefits not only because of access to works after 28 yrs, but because creators are compelled to keep creating more works as older ones fall into PD—in other words, to continue contributing to the artistic conversation instead of becoming dormant.

    IMHO anything prior to 1986 should be public domain.

    • G.D.

      Let me guess, Joe… you don’t personally control any copyrights older than 1986. Most copyrights never generate much revenue. But some generate income after many years, when the artist achieves a visibility that leads people to seek out their older work. No one should ever lose a copyright to the public domain during their lifetime. That is ridiculous.

      • Anonymous

        “No one should ever lose a copyright to the public domain during their lifetime”

        Of course not, you can’t just steal people’s property.

        But it’s worth discussing what should happen after the owner’s death. 70 years is a long time.

        • PiratesWinLOL

          Do you want to use the same arguments regulating other industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, or is the music industry a special snowflake? Personally I am sick and tired of seeing this area getting special treatment. In my opinion it is about time that legistation is applied, which promote creativity and benefit the public. To have copyright extended for so many years, doesn’t promote anything but laziness. Why do concerts or create new music, when you can still get paid for what you did so many years ago? We need legistation which promote productivity and it is great that Pandora is pushing us in that direction.

          • PiratesWinLOL = BLUDGER

            Nothing in your rant makes any sense….except that you’re a bludger and a dickhead!

        • Sigh.

          Copyrights are not property.

          Copyright is the exclusive right to copy.

          Not the same at all.

  6. Robert von Anzen

    It was always an anomaly that sound copyrights prior to the 1971 Copyright Act were not protected in the USA.

    Prior to 1972 enforcement against pirated recordings generally fell under unfair competition and similar statutes.

    If you’re campaigning against Pandora, you might as well as campaign against every radio and television outlet in the USA for not paying performance royalties on any sound recordings, pre- or post- 1972. And now that you’re out there with your placards, protest outside every movie theater in the USA. They don’t have to pay, either.

    The above is about recordings. The world of song copyright gives some peculiar examples of longevity :

    Irving Berlin was extremely unusual in living long enough to outlast the full term of copyright plus renewal term for some of his hit songs which, naturally, occurred before life of copyright was extended in incremental steps to the current “life plus 70 years”.

    The fact that 2 compositions that date from the 1890’s, “Happy Birthday to You” and “O Sole Mio” are still in copyright is plainly a farce.

  7. PiratesWinLOL

    Nobody should get paid for what they did in 1972. The music industry should cut down on their excesses, if they want any support from politicans and the public in general.

    • Seth Keller

      My main issue with this argument is that artists and others who use old works whether they sample them, cover them, sync them, etc., typically do so for profit. If the new use is non-profit, then I agree that there should be some change in the law that will allow this. In reality, almost all new uses are pursued with the goal of making money. In those cases, the copyright owner or creator should be compensated in some way unless he/she/it waives those rights.

    • Be serious

      Name one thing invented before 1972 that is free today. Do drug companies give medicine away because they invented it a long time ago. If you can make an accurate point it would help your argument because I agree with the premise.

      • Sigh.

        Drug patents do, in fact, expire.

        Anyone who advocates lifetime terms (or lifetime + 70) or equivalent is neglecting to consider that the concept of copyright is intended to benefit creators AND the public.

        • Chris H

          How does a lifetime copyright (I agree lifetime + 70 is a bit much), hurt the public in any way? The artist gets a right to make a living from his works (and hopefully keeping him off the public dole), his works are available to the public who want access or to reuse it.

          Please explain how this harms the public in anyway other than you can’t steal his chord changes for your new work.

      • wallow-T

        In round numbers, a drug patent lasts for about 20 years, so all drugs invented in 1972 should now be available as low-cost “generics”. There are of course ways to game the system to extend the life of the patent.

  8. Doctor VonCueBall

    The exploiters of song, masters, publishing are all commercial for profit businesses. They are using the hard work and in many cases the incredible genius of these artists to create income. Without that content they have no business model at all. The artists deserve to be compensated for their work in my opinion for eternity where it is being used for commercial exploitation which is what Pandora, Amazon, Google Music, Apple Music, etc do. Use of that content deserves rightly so payment commensurate with commercial use.

  9. Spoken X Digital Media Group

    Music is the front driver for a multi trillion USD all digital convergence industry. End of report. . .

  10. Willis

    The elderly are always being taken advantage of, it seems.

  11. hippydog

    For reference

    Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States

  12. Karl

    This article is very misleading, especially this part:

    “Pandora argues isn’t covered by federal copyright and therefore not worthy of any royalty payment whatsoever.”

    This is outright false. Pandora, like everyone else, pays royalties to SONGWRITERS for public performances of pre-1972 recordings.

    And like everyone else, what they do not pay are SOUND RECORDING royalties for public performances of pre-1972 recordings.

    These are the kind of royalties that NOBODY paid until SoundExchange was formed; and the only people who pay these royalties are non-interactive internet and cable radio (that is, Pandora and SiriusXM). Incidentally, SiriusXM isn’t paying those royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings either, and are also getting sued.

    Terrestrial radio stations, bars, restaurants, live venues, and so forth, do not and have never paid these kind of royalties. They were created as part of Federal copyright law, and no state that I am aware of has ever required anyone to pay them at all.

    Entities that do interactive streaming (like Spotify) are not eligible for the statutory royalty rates, so they must already do direct deals with the sound recording copyright holders. (That’s how Universal acquired a stake in their company.)