Hollywood Docket: Sirius XM Settles Lawsuit By Indie Musicians

Hollywood Docket: Inno settlement, Crist-Byrne Settlement, Ricky Ross v. Rick Ross

Sirius XM Radio has agreed to pay various indie labels $3.6 million to settle a long-standing lawsuit over a song storage device.

Back in the middle part of the last decade, many record labels went bonkers over XM Radio's introduction of the Pioneer Inno, a device that allowed satellite radio listeners to capture and play songs on-demand. Many record labels filed suit, and for a while, it looked like the Inno litigation would establish legal boundaries over so-called "time-shifting" devices.

Then, XM settled with the majors including Universal and EMI, and soon merged with Sirius, and the dispute was largely regulated to a historical footnote. But Merlin, a rights organization that manages the copyrights of various indie music companies, has continued to fight, and now, according to Digital Music News, has extracted a tidy sum of $3.6 million to put the controversy to rest once and for all.

In other legal news...

  • Former Florida governor Charlie Crist has settled a lawsuit with singer David Byrne over use of the song, "Road to Nowhere," in a campaign attack advertisement. Crist met Byrne during mediation, says the singer couldn't have been more "gentleman" about the dispute, and apologized. Crist joins other politicians, including John McCain and Chuck DeVore, who have issued a "sorry" after being sued for campaign copyright infringement.
  • The former drug pin who claims a rapper stole his identity won't quit.  Last year, a federal judge tossed "Freeway" Ricky Ross' lawsuit against rapper Rick RossJay-ZDef JamUMGVivendi and others for not supporting his claims of owning trademark in his moniker. Now Ross, who ran a drug empire that covered Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s and got caught up in the Iran Contra scandal, has hired Manatt Phelps & Phillips and is once again suing for trademark infringement.
  • One lawyer believes that a recent court decision in a case involving Washington Redskins fans with hearing impediments means that theatre owners, operators, managers, and producers have a legal obligation now to provide assistive listening devices for deaf and hearing impaired patrons.