Pandora Sued Over Pre-1972 Recordings

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The Turtles’ Flo and Eddie are going after their next target, following their recent win against SiriusXM.

Flo and Eddie sued SiriusXM for playing music by The Turtles without paying performance royalties. These songs were recorded before 1972, which means they’re not covered by federal copyright law.

The judge in the SiriusXM case decided that it goes against California state law to “publicly perform” this pre-1972 music without paying to do so.

Now, Flo and Eddie have filed a class action lawsuit against Pandora in California regarding pre-1972 recordings. They are seeking at least $25 million.

The complaint says:

“Pandora is aware that it does not have any license, right, or authority to reproduce, perform, distribute or otherwise exploit via the Music Service any pre-1972 recordings…”

The RIAA has a similar ongoing lawsuit against Pandora in the state of New York.

14 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Oh no. How dare they not get paid performance royalties for spending a little time in the recording studio… more than 4 decades ago.

    • smg77

      Seriously. I wish I was still getting paid for work I did over 40 years ago.

      • Jonathan Segel

        Oh, that’s just stupid. Most types of writer count on a continuing royalty as most barely get paid anything right off the bat. If you wrote “work for hire” or sold the rights initially, your snide comments might apply, but even in that case many of the contracts for creative work from that era—and beyond, of course—completely ripped off artists*. In the world that your comment seems to reside, then, no book author would get paid beyond their original advance either?

        *Compare to, for example, Stan Lee and the 1960s contracts with the artists that created Spiderman or The Fantastic Four.

        • Anonymous

          But this is not about writers. The writers are getting paid. The recording artists are not.

      • Sorry smg77

        Sorry smg77, you sound like one of those bitter cubical IT jockeys from techdirt that wishes they had a music career… maybe you should spend more time making music and less time whining on internet message boards. oh no, a silicon valley tech company screwing artists might actually have to pay for the cost of goods… cue the full scale kitty meltdown… yawn, LOL…

  2. Remi Swierczek

    Soon pre 1972 music will be locked-up from our lives.
    Why get involved with it if they can prostitute fresher music.

    Pity situation considering that XM and Pandora could function as a simple music stores making money for themselves and old and new musicians.

  3. wallow-T

    IANAL, but as I understand the California courts ruling (assuming it is upheld), there is no legal way to publicly perform a pre-1972 recording except by direct negotiation of the rights with the copyright holder of each song. There are no statutory royalties, and there is no mechanism for paying these not-defined royalties to an agency. (The ruling creates a legal obligation to pay but no rates and no clearinghouse mechanism to do so.)

    (Are the royalties to be paid on a state-by-state basis, as they are governed by state law? 🙂 )

    My understanding is that this California ruling also is not limited to digital media; it creates a performance right for AM/FM/TV, as well. Every classic rock station in America could be bankrupt. 🙂

    My prediction (again, IANAL) is that there will be a push in Congress to “federalize” pre-1972 copyrights.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, pre-1972 music is now dead. 🙂 As it should be. 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    Fuck oldies. Music industry is sustained by NEW MUSIC, not grandpas in skinny jeans!

    • Anonymous

      You must be a masochist!
      Do you enjoy to be screwed by current music industry layout?

      They deliver no money to themselves (XM, Pandora, Spotify, VEEVOO, YouTube…….) or to music industry.
      Just shredding music goodwill to produce few LIVE money makers.

  5. John Book

    Technically, they are Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of The Turtles but outside of The Turtles context, they are Flo & Eddie. Just needs to be specific.

  6. MickeyMac

    If I was making such ignorant and hatred filled comments, I’d sign as “Anonymous”, too. Seriously, pick up your skirts, grow a pair, and take ownership of your comments, you cowards!