As expected, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Warner Music Group and ABKCO have filed suit against SiriusXM for allegedly continuing to ignore state copyright laws and refusing to pay artist performance royalties for pre-1972 music it broadcasts.
While Federal copyright law protects all master recordings created after 1972, record labels have long maintained that individual state laws protect their ownership and are asking the California Superior Court for a ruling that will "vindicate their valuable rights.
As part of the lawsuit, the labels are asking for damages and punitive damages, as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from infringing on the label's pre-1972 master recordings.
In a statement supplied by the RIAA, songwriter/guitarist Steve Cropper said, "It's an outrage that SiriusXM, a multi-billion [dollar] company making a big profit based partly on the popularity of its oldies channels is refusing to pay any artists like me one penny. That's not right and that needs to be changed."
SiriusXM declined Billboard.biz's request for a comment on the lawsuit. The claim was filed on behalf of the labels by the firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Krupp LLP.