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Sirius XM wins Copyright battle with The Turtles

On February 16, Sirius XM Holdings Inc was granted a dismissal of a Copyright lawsuit pertaining to songs by the 1960s band The Turtles and other artists. The lawsuit was filed against them by Flo & Eddie Inc, a corporation owned by two original members of The Turtles, who are best known for their song "Happy Together."

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York agreed with a ruling in December by the New York Court of Appeals that state law does not protect songs recorded before 1972. Flo & Eddie's class-action lawsuit would have cost Sirius XM up to $99.2 million.

The Copyright Act of 1976 does not cover songs recorded on or after February 15, 1972. Instead, they are governed by individual state laws. Because of this, many recording artists and record labels have won lawsuits against Sirius, Pandora Media Inc and other music streaming services.

Back in December, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that, with sound recordings, "copyright prevents copying of a work, but does not prevent someone from using a copy, once it has been lawfully procured, in any other way the purchaser sees fit." In other words, since Sirius legally purchased a copy of the work they have a right to broadcast or stream it. The U.S. court excused Sirius from a $5 million royalty payment and reduced their future royalty rate by 2 percent. 

This lawsuit between Flo & Eddie and Sirius is just one of three lawsuits that began in 2013 and were filed in New York, California and Florida. The other two cases are still pending in state district courts.

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