Satellite radio company SiriusXM was sued yesterday (September 11) by Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings and ABKCO for failure to pay royalties on pre-1972 recordings played on the platform.
CNet reports that the aforementioned lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and is the third filed against Sirius XM in recent weeks - others were brought by SoundExchange (in relation to unpaid artist royalty payments from 2007 to 2011) and sixties band The Turtles.
Speaking on the issues, artist Dionne Warwick said in an RIAA-issued statement: "Classic tracks recorded before 1972 are an important part of American culture and an important of SiriusXM's programming.
"The great artists played on the '40s, '50s and '60s stations should be treated with respect and properly compensated as SiriusXM is required to do, so I am asking SiriusXM not to 'Walk On By' and do the right thing!"
The US Copyright office website explains: "Sound recordings were first given federal copyright protection in 1972, sound recordings made before February 15, 1972 remained protected under state law rather than under the federal copyright statute. As a result, there are a variety of legal regimes governing protection of pre-1972 sound recordings in the various states, and the scope of protection and of exceptions and limitations to that protection is unclear.
"Current law provides that pre-1972 sound recordings may remain protected under state law until February 15, 2067. After that date they will enter the public domain."