Music Business

Sirius XM Wins Flo & Eddie Pre-72 Royalties Case, musicFIRST Calls On Congress To Right The Wrong

SiriusxmUPDATE: The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a Federal District Court ruling. Today's decision means that there are no performance fees due on sound recordings created prior to 1972; and that there were no alternative grounds for finding against. Trade group MusicFirst called for copyright overhaul to right the wrong.

This ruling effectively ends Flo and Eddie’s attempt to obtain performance fees under New York law.  


 New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donovan said in a statement, “This is an important decision for local radio stations in New York. We are grateful to the courts for accepting the arguments contained in our amicus briefs. This definitive ruling should put an end to the legal proceedings in New York.”

musicFIRST Executive Director Chris Israel Issues Statement Marking pre-72 anniversary

musicFIRST Executive Director Chris Israel issued the following statement today, which marks 44 years of antiquated copyright laws:

“Consumers’ preferences for how they access music have changed dramatically in recent years. Sadly, our copyright system hasn’t kept pace. Our antiquated laws treat artists’ works differently depending on the platform we’re using to listen to their recordings.

“While the inadequacies of our system are evident every day, today marks the 44th anniversary of one of our system’s most egregious flaws. Thanks to a quirk in U.S. law, songs recorded before this date in 1972 do not have federal copyright protection, and that is a huge problem. Up to 15 percent of all the music on some digital radio services was recorded before February 15, 1972. Streaming, satellite and FM radio have entire channels dedicated to this iconic music, yet this anomaly in U.S. law allows them to use pre-72 music without requiring them to compensate the artists whose recordings they play on the air. Many older artists have been forced to pursue fair compensation in a variety of state courts. This is extremely inefficient, unfair and unnecessary. Simple legislation will address this clear problem.

“This Congress provides a historic opportunity to fix the flaws of our current copyright system and treat music the same regardless of when it was recorded or how we listen to it. Protecting pre-72 sound recordings, establishing a performance right for radio and establishing rate standard parity across various digital platforms enjoy broad bi-partisan support in Congress. We look forward to engaging Congress and all other industry stakeholders to ensure music creators are compensated fairly for their works across all platforms.”

To learn more about musicFIRST and the effort to ensure that music artists receive fair compensation for use of their creative property in the new music landscape, visit

Read the full court decision here.

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