LOS ANGELES -- The music industry's largest record companies are suing SiriusXM Radio for royalties it says the satellite radio company didn't pay for recordings from before 1972.
Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings Inc. and Warner Music Group Corp., as well as ABKCO Music & Records Inc., an independent company that manages music rights for such acts as the Rolling Stones and The Animals, filed the lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio Inc. on Wednesday. It seeks unspecified damages and a judgment about the rights involved in pre-1972 recordings.
Sound recordings weren't brought under federal copyright protection until 1972, instead being governed through state laws. In recent years, the U.S. Copyright Office has asked for opinions about bringing so-called "oldies" under the law.
"Classic tracks recorded before 1972 are an important part of American culture and an important of SiriusXM's programming," Dionne Warwick said in a statement provided by The Recording Industry Association of America. "The great artists played on the '40s, '50s and '60s stations should be treated with respect and properly compensated as SiriusXM is required to do, so I am asking SiriusXM not to 'Walk On By' and do the right thing!"
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, claims "a significant portion of SiriusXM's channels feature classic sound recordings, including channels exclusively devoted to performing recordings from the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s." It lists the Beatles, Beach Boys, Supremes, Four Tops, Aretha Franklin and Simon & Garfunkel among the acts that can be heard on SiriusXM stations like "'60s on 6."
A spokesman for SiriusXM declined to comment.
The suit is the third major complaint filed against Sirius XM in recent weeks. SoundExchange, a company that collects royalties on behalf of recording artists, filed a similar lawsuit last month in Washington, D.C.