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1: The Turtles Win Class Action Certification In SiriusXM Copyright Lawsuit, Opening Door For Others
First off today, Nomi Prins at Forbes reports that The Turtles have won yet another victory in their battle against satellite radio provider SiriusXM in that a judge how now certified the case as a class action lawsuit, enabling other songwriters of pre-1972 sound recordings to to join in.
The Turtles are best known for their 1967 hit song Happy Together and have vested the rights to their recordings in a company known was Flo & Eddie Inc. That company filed suit against SiriusXM alleging that it was playing its music without paying royalties for the recordings. SiriusXM claimed that no such royalties were owed since pre-1972 sound recordings are controlled under state law, not federal copyright protection. However, a California judge agreed that the broadcast of the music without a license was an infringement and has now authorized the case to move forward as a class action lawsuit.
The judge decided that it would be inefficient for thousands of smaller songwriters to have to file separate lawsuits and that the case was not preempted by another lawsuit by the major record labels. The news also bodes poorly for Pandora, which is facing a similar lawsuit from Flo & Eddie Inc. Pandora is currently appealing a decision that its streaming of The Turtles’ music was an infringement and the group wish to make that one a class action case as well.
Next up today, Andrew Flanagan at Billboard reports that the National Music Publishers Association, a group that represents some 26 music publishers, has filed a lawsuit against Wolfgang’s Vault, a site that is a purveyor of concert memorabilia, including DVDs, CDs and downloads of concert recordings.
According to the lawsuit, some of the sources from which Wolfgang’s Vault has acquired its recordings did not include the rights to sell those recordings and that the company lacks the needed licenses to sell copies of and stream the tracks.
Wolfgang’s Vault was previously sued in 2006 by various artists on similar grounds. That lawsuit ended in a settlement. The CEO of Wolfgang’s Vault said in 2011 that they hold all of the needed copyrights and licenses to sell and stream what they do and that many of the rights they had were expanded in the previous settlement.
Finally today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that unsealed records in the RIAA’s case against the “relaunch” of Grooveshark shows that the record industry has called out content delivery network CloudFlare for helping the site protect itself and hosting provider LeaseWeb allegedly being a piracy-friendly host.
Recently the original Grooveshark music streaming service settled a lawsuit with the record labels by shuttering, handing over its trademarks and agreeing got pay $50 million. However, another group launched a new Grooveshark site, which was really a re-skin of an existing music streaming site, only to be sued by the RIAA for copyright and trademark infringement. That lawsuit resulted in a successful seizure of the new Grooveshark’s domain though it has since moved to a new URL.
The original motions were filed under seal but the RIAA has requested that they be unsealed, to which the judge agreed. The unsealed motions not only outline the case against the new Grooveshark but also take to task Cloudflare, which the labels accuse of assisting it in staying hidden and refusing to disconnect the service after leaning that it is engaged in widespread infringement, and hosting provider LeaseWeb. CloudFlare claims it is merely an intermediary and not obligate to disconnect Grooveshark’s account, LeaseWeb has not responded. Neither company was named as a defendant.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.