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The Turtles and SiriusXM may not quite be “Happy Together,” but they’re one step closer now that they’ve settled a California federal lawsuit over oldies royalties on the eve of trial.
Pre-1972 sound recordings aren’t protected by federal copyright. So, until recently, rightsholders weren’t being compensated for hits played on digital channels like SiriusXM Radio’s ‘60s on 6.
Two of The Turtles, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, who are known as Flo & Eddie, won summary judgment in 2014 when the court found Sirius’ use of their music violates public performance rights. The trial was set to determine exactly how big of a check Sirius would have to write to fairly compensate the artists.
Details of the settlement are scarce, but attorneys filed a joint notice with the court on Monday. A motion for preliminary approval of the deal will be filed in the next three weeks, and a hearing date is expected to be set Tuesday morning.
While this battle appears to be over, pending approval from U.S. District Court judge Philip S. Gutierrez, the battle over pre-1972 sound recordings wages on courtesy of two similar suits on the East Coast. Sirius currently is appealing a Turtles victory in New York, and the 11th Circuit has asked the Florida Supreme Court to rule on an appeal to the digital music giant’s win there.
That said, this settlement is likely a relief for Sirius XM attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who was slated for back-to-back trials. He also represents President-elect Donald Trump in the Trump University lawsuit, which is set to begin trial on Nov. 28. Petrocelli has asked the court to push that trial until after Trump’s inauguration in January, but the plaintiffs argue the situation will become more complicated after he takes office and it’s better to resolve the suit as soon as possible.
Flo & Eddie are repped by Henry Gradstein of Gradstein & Marzano.
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