Big Labels Take Aim at Pandora on Royalties

The outcome of a new lawsuit filed by copyright owners against Pandora Media could have far-ranging consequences for recording artists, record labels, and internet music broadcasters. The RIAA and its constituents face an uphill battle, however. Who will survive, and what will be left of them? - - - - "The music industry has opened a new front in its war against Pandora Media: royalties for songs made before 1972.

On Thursday, several major record companies filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accusing Pandora of violating the state’s common-law copyright protections by using recordings of older songs without permission. Along with a string of cases filed last year against Sirius XM Radio, the suit highlights an obscure legal issue that has come to the fore with the rise of streaming music online: that recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972, are not subject to federal copyright protection and may be missing out on tens of millions of dollars in royalties, according to industry estimates." - - - -