Five music labels file a lawsuit against Pandora

Five music labels have filed a lawsuit against streaming music service Pandora Music, saying the company is violating state law by refusing to pay labels and artists for its use of recordings made before 1972. U.S. copyright law doesn’t cover recordings made before 1972, but the five music labels—Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Warner Music Group and ABKCO Music & Records—argue that Pandora’s use is a violation of New York state law.

Pandora has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by major record labels, according to The New York Times. The labels contend that the music streaming service must pay license fees for songs recorded before 1972. The suit was filed in New York state court by Sony, Warner, and Universal, according to the Times. The labels argue that that even though older songs, like James Brown’s “I Got You” and the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” aren’t protected under federal copyright law — they are covered by state laws. The record labels claim they lose millions of dollars yearly from Pandora, other streaming music services, and satellite radio companies for playing older songs. Many of these songs are played on streaming stations like “Golden Oldies” and “50s Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and the labels say they should get royalties for these pre-1972 songs.

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