Menu
Music labels sue Pandora over pre-1972 recordings

Music labels sue Pandora over pre-1972 recordings

The streaming music service is violating New York law by not paying artists, the lawsuit alleges

Five music labels have filed a lawsuit against streaming music service Pandora Music, saying the company is violating state law by refusing to pay labels and artists for its use of recordings made before 1972.

U.S. copyright law doesn't cover recordings made before 1972, but the five music labels -- Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Warner Music Group and ABKCO Music & Records -- argue that Pandora's use is a violation of New York state law.

The actions by Pandora and other music services have cost the labels tens of millions of dollars a year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. The pre-1972 recordings are played on some of the most popular stations on Pandora, including '50s Rock 'n' Roll, '60s Oldies, Motown, Doo-Wop and Classic Soul, the RIAA said.

The songs include some of the "most iconic music in the world," the labels said in their complaint, filed in New York state court in Manhattan. They include works by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, the Monkees and The Who.

Pandora, in a recent regulatory filing, noted that "the time, effort, and cost of securing such licenses could be significant and could harm our business and operating results," lawyers for the labels wrote.

Pandora said it was reviewing the lawsuit and didn't have an immediate comment.

RIAA members filed a similar lawsuit in California against SiriusXM last September.

Recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972, aren't covered by U.S. copyright law, but they are covered by state law. Sound recordings were first given federal copyright protection in 1972. The "scope of protection and of exceptions and limitations to that protection is unclear," the U.S. Copyright Office said in a December 2011 report on sound-recording copyright issues.

Artists Steve Cropper, Sam Moore, Dionne Warwick and Maria Elena Holly, the widow of Buddy Holly, spoke in favor of the lawsuit in an RIAA press release.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesCapitol RecordsCivil lawsuitsRecording Industry Association of AmericaSiriusXMWarner Music GroupABKCO Music & RecordsinternetPandora MusicUMG RecordingsSony Music EntertainmentlegalMusic and audio

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments