The Turtles Lose 'Happy Together' Suit Against Sirius XM in New York's Top Court

The Turtles photographed in 1967.
J. Barry Peake/REX/Shutterstock

The Turtles photographed in 1967.

New York's highest court has ruled the owners of old music recordings can't make radio stations pay for their use, deciding a legal dispute between the owner of The Turtles' 1967 hit song "Happy Together" and Sirius XM Radio.

A company controlled by two of The Turtles' founding members sued Sirius XM Radio, arguing its rights were violated when Sirius plays its old songs without permission or compensation.

Sirius XM Radio had argued it can play the songs without permission because they were made before 1972, when new federal copyright rules took effect.

The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that state common law doesn't recognize a "right of public performance" that would require radio stations to have permission to play records made before 1972.