Pandora hit with lawsuit over use of pre-1972 songs

By Kyle Johnson,

Several major music labels filed a lawsuit against Pandora on Thursday for copyright infringement in regard to use of older songs.

The lawsuit centers around Pandora not paying any licensing fees for the use of songs recorded before 1972, like the Beatles' "Hey Jude," reports The Associated Press. The labels, which include divisions of Sony, Universal and Warner, claim they have lost out on tens of millions of dollars because of Pandora.

According to The New York Times, music recorded before 1972 isn't covered by federal copyright protection, so the labels are suing through New York's common-law copyright protections.

The suit argues that despite the songs not being covered by federal law, they should be covered under the state's law and Pandora should be paying licensing fees. "This case presents a classic attempt by Pandora to reap where it has not sown."

The suit also claims, "Pandora appropriates plaintiffs' valuable and unique property, violates New York law, and engages in common law copyright infringement and misappropriated and unfair competition."

It is similar to the lawsuit filed against Sirius XM Radio from last year over how though Sirius XM and Pandora might negotiate licensing deals for music after 1972, older songs are at best covered by some states' laws.

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