The changing copyright landscape for pre-1972 recordings

Intellectual Property Magazine
February 2015

This article analyzes two recent decisions that break new ground in copyright protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, which are not covered by Federal copyright law. In lawsuits brought by former members of the rock group The Turtles against Sirius XM, courts ruled that the state laws of New York and California give owners of the copyrights in such recordings a “performance right”, which was infringed by Sirius’s unauthorized satellite broadcasting and Internet streaming of those recordings. These decisions may provide an impetus for Congress to bring pre-1972 recordings within the protection of Federal copyright law.

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