Klein & Wilson

Band sue Sirius XM for copyright infringement

On Sept. 22, a federal judge in California ruled in favor of the popular 60s band The Turtles that had filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Sirius XM Holdings Inc. According to the judge's ruling, a California law about copyrights of sound recordings made before 1972 was not limited to control over live performances of the songs.

The Turtles are a band that is most recognized for their 1967 hit song 'Happy Together". In August 2013, the band's copyright infringement lawsuit against the satellite broadcasting company was moved from state court to federal court. According to the band, Sirius XM used their music without permission and did not provide them with any compensation. The band is seeking more than $100 million in damages.

After the Sept. 22 ruling, Sirius XM put in a request to immediately appeal the judge's decision about copyright laws concerning pre-1972 sound recordings. The judge rejected Sirius XM's appeal request on Nov. 10 and commented that an appeal would only serve to delay the resolution of the case. In December, the same judge also rejected a request by Sirius XM to have the case moved to New York. The trial is scheduled to take place in August 2015.

An infringement of a copyright can result in the owner of the copyright losing a significant amount of profit. At the same time, the copyright owner may claim that their reputation or credibility was damaged by the infringement. The owner may decide to seek compensation for these losses by filing an infringement lawsuit against the party who is responsible for violating the terms of the copyright.

Source: Bloomberg, "Aereo Bankrupt, Alibaba, Batman: Intellectual Property", Victoria Slind-Flor , November 24, 2014

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