Just 24 hours before a trial was set, Sirius XM Radio and 1960s pop band The Turtles agreed to settle a long-running class action lawsuit over pre-1972 recordings.
The band has been engaged in a three-year battle to get digital and satellite radio services to pay royalties for the classic songs they recorded more than 44 years ago.
As Law360 reports, royalties for pre-1972 tunes are in “a legal gray area, since they are protected by a hodgepodge of state laws rather than the federal copyright system.”
Sirius, among others, say they could play pre-1972s for free.
However, The Turtles — including Flo and Eddie — won a precedent-setting case in 2014 in California ruling that Sirius and others including Pandora should pay royalty fees.
A trial had been set to kick off Nov. 15 to determine Sirius’ payout.
Under the settlement, Sirius gains a license to use pre-1972 songs until 2028. In return, it will place the fees in a settlement fund. Law360 says further details will come Dec. 5, when a class action settlement will be filed with the court for approval.
It is important to note that this settlement only is enforceable in California, and does not resolve “the fundamental legal question in these lawsuits — whether the law grants owners of pre-1972 recordings a right to control performances of those recordings — with each side retaining the right to pursue appeals on that issue,” Sirius spokesperson Patrick Reilly told Law360.
In 2014, Sirius agreed to pay $210 million to settle separate claims with the major record labels, as they control some 80% of pre-1972 recordings.