Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Court Decision That Could Alter Royalty Payments

Flo and Eddie image
Flo & Eddie/The Turtles
A US Federal Court has ruled that SiriusXM violated The Turtles pre-1972 copyright by playing their music without either licensing it or paying performance royalties. The is a big decision that may have far reaching consequences for both classic artists, record labels and digital music services.

Right now digital music services like Pandora and SiriusXM don't pay royalties on any song that existed before 1972 because they argue that the master copyright law didn't exist before then. Broadcasters now only pay royalties to publishers but digital services must also pay the copyright holder when a post-1972 song is played.

The payment to artists and labels is estimated to be at least $60 million before punitive damages. That said, the ruling was made in California and therefore only effects California, so this may prove to be only the first battle in a long war. Several other lawsuits by the major labels and Soundexchange against digital broadcasters are also pending.

While the result may be ominous for the affected digital services, it will have little direct effect on consumers. This may have an eventual effect on broadcast radio though, which has managed to skirt the issue of paying anyone but publishers thanks to strong lobbying on the part of the NAB. With the precedent now set, a new attempt to have radio pay artists when their songs are played might gain some traction in Congress.

The suit was brought by Flo & Eddie (Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman), the two main players of the 60s hit makers The Turtles.
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2 comments:

Nichole said...


The Artist(s) is the Center, it's the first circle, regardless of business changes or business trends. There's business logic, and then there's Treating People Right. If You take care of the artists, then you, personally and professionally are taken care of too, in a Positive, Greater Way... , maybe not all at once.

From one of your previous articles "3 Million Plays-39 Royalty Check", it makes one think many times over about Signing Any and All Publishing Matters.

http://music3point0.blogspot.com/2012/11/3-million-plays-39-royalty-check.html

Rand said...

Absolutely, it's like biting the hand that feeds. If it weren't for the artist who created the song, where would the business generate its income in the first place?

Hip hip hooray for Flo & Eddie for being steadfast in their determination and self-respect to assert their rights and finally get what they deserve.

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