Song recordings created before 1972 don’t have federal copyright, but many states did grant such copyrights. The varying rules on older songs have been a huge headache for satellite radio provider Sirius XM, and may yet be a boondoggle for streaming services like Pandora.
After experiencing some adverse rulings, Sirius is moving to put its biggest legal conflict over royalties behind it. Documents filed this morning with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that the company has agreed to pay the major record labels $210 million to end their dispute over whether they should be paying royalties for pre-1972 songs.
The song doesn’t end litigation by the ’60s band The Turtles, who still have a class-action lawsuit proceeding against Sirius. But the major labels have the rights to about 80 percent of the pre-1972 music that Sirius plays.
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