Record companies sue SiriusXM over use of pre-1972 songs


By Carlyn Kolker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five music companies sued satellite radio provider SiriusXM Radio Inc on Wednesday, saying the radio service uses song recordings made before 1972 without obtaining permission and without paying for them.

Capitol Records LLC, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Warner Music Group and ABKCO Music & Records claim Sirius uses recordings from the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones without proper authorization and transmits them to millions of subscribers every day. They are seeking unspecified damages.

In 1972 the U.S. copyright act was amended to include protection of sound recordings. The record companies argue that a "common law property right" for sound recordings was recognized by California courts before 1972, and that they should be compensated for any use of them.

"The conduct of SiriusXM presents the paradigmatic example of a commercial business that is based on, uses, and profits from the intellectual property created by and owned by others, without obtaining the right to do so, and without paying for it," the record companies said in a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

A spokesman for SiriusXM did not immediately return a call for comment after business hours.

The case is: Capitol Records LLC et al v. SiriusXM Radio, No BC520981, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

(Reporting by Carlyn Kolker; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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