Record label executives representing artists including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles are suing a U.S. radio giant in a battle over royalty payments.
Representatives for Sony, Universal, Warner and independent label ABKCO, which controls much of the Rolling Stones’ early music, have filed a lawsuit targeting American subscription station Sirius XM over allegations they are owed millions of dollars.
In the lawsuit, the record label bosses claim the radio station has been airing music dating from before 1972 without permission – U.S. copyright regulations do not apply to songs recorded before that date, but the executives allege the tracks are protected by state law, according to the New York Times.
The publication reports the legal paperwork was filed at Los Angeles Superior Court in California on Wednesday and names the Beatles and The Rolling Stones as artists whose music has allegedly been used improperly without compensation, as well as the Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and the Supremes.
The record companies are seeking unspecified damages and a judgement about the licensing of recordings made before 1972.
A number of stars have released statements backing the action, including Dionne Warwick, who says, “Classic tracks recorded before 1972 are an important part of American culture and an important (part) of Sirius XM’s programming. The great artists played on the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s stations should be treated with respect and properly compensated as Sirius XM is required to do, so I am asking Sirius XM not to ‘Walk On By’ and do the right thing!”
Judy Collins adds, “It is disgraceful, unfair, and probably criminal that Sirius XM is stealing monies due to me and other performing artists. Performers should be paid their fair share of the royalties from their songs.”