‘Flo & Eddie’ Foiled, Sirius XM Scores In Royalty Rumble


By Adam R Jacobson

Flo & Eddie may certainly be “happy together,” but they may be California Dreamin’ after being iced in Albany by the Court of Appeals for the State of New York.

In a major ruling regarding the airplay of pre-1972 recordings on Sirius XM, the state’s highest appeals court handed down a 4-2 decision Tuesday (12/20) that found the satellite radio broadcaster is not liable for payment of royalties from songs released in prior years.

Songs recorded up to Feb. 15, 1972 are not protected by Federal copyright laws in the same manner as songs that saw their release from Feb. 16, 1972.  As a result, a team of plaintiffs led by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan — founding members of 1960s rock act The Turtles who go by their stage names “Flo & Eddie” — have been going to state courts in the venues where they may have the best chance at a victorious ruling.

This worked in California just one month ago, where a settlement was reached just 24 hours before a trial was to commence to consider Sirius’ payout. Now, the matter may get a bit murkier as the New York court ruling is a much different one than that from the Golden State.

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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.