SiriusXM to Pay Up to $99 Million in Turtles-Led Royalty Lawsuit
A royalty battle with potentially wide-ranging implications has ended with an expensive setback for satellite radio service SiriusXM.
The New York Times reports that the company has agreed to pay up to $99 million in a proposed two-tiered settlement of the class action suit, which was led by former Turtles members Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, aka Flo and Eddie, and targeted nonpayment of royalties for the broadcast of recordings made before 1972.
As previously reported, the company neglected to pay royalties on those recordings through its interpretation of a federal statute commonly exploited by music services such as Pandora — who also face legal action — and its settlement in the case could be just the first in a series of decisions that help settle the costs and catalogs of various companies in the streaming sector.
The Times' report says SiriusXM will pay out at least $25 million for its past unlicensed broadcast of pre-1972 recordings, with an additional $15 million potentially to follow depending on the outcome of appeals in process in other jurisdictions. The company has also agreed to purchase a 10-year license for the plaintiffs' catalogs, set at a 5.5 percent royalty rate that could ultimately be worth between $45 and $59 million over the duration of the agreement.
This settlement still has to be approved by the court, but SiriusXM has been down this road before; last year, the company reached a $210 million agreement with a number of major labels. It'll certainly be eyed closely by attorneys and execs at Pandora, who continue to work through their own legal battle with Volman and Kaylan.
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