SiriusXM Settles Copyright Claims for $210 Million
SiriusXM agreed Tuesday to pay $210 million to settle charges that it streamed music older than 1972 without paying royalties to the artists and labels holding the copyrights to the recordings. The agreement settles claims made by a group of music labels, including Capitol, Sony, UMG and Warner Music Group, but not an ongoing class-action suit brought by 60s rockers the Turtles, who filed their own $100 million claim against Sirius. Tuesday’s settlement appears to comply with an October 2014 ruling in which a judge decided that Sirius and other music broadcasters must obtain licenses to play music older than 1972 even though copyright law doesn’t protect those recordings.
Music industry executives universally applauded Tuesday’s settlement, while a spokesman for Sirius has so far declined to comment. “This is a great step forward for all music creators,” read a statement from Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America. “Music has tremendous value, whether it was made in 1970 or 2015. We hope others take note of this important agreement and follow SiriusXM’s example,” the press release continued. The major labels filed their claim in California, where the courts tend to lean towards protecting artists in copyright litigation. The suit was filed about two months after a federal court allowed the Turtles’ class-action to proceed. Filed in three states, that case is still ongoing, with Sirius scoring a preliminary ruling in Florida and the Turtles notching key rulings in New York and California.