Copyright Battles over Digital Music Royalties
With David Herlihy
Suffolk University Law School’s Journal of High Technology Law and
The Sports and Entertainment Law Association (SELA)
Sirius XM publicly performed 15 separate pre-1972 sound recordings in its service that are exclusively owned by Flo & Eddie without obtaining a license to use these recordings in its radio services and without paying royalties to Flo & Eddie. When Congress passed the Copyright Act in 1976, it carved out pre-1972 sound recordings as a limited area of copyright law unaffected by the new federal law and still within the domain of the states. A federal court in California held that a California statute, Civil Code §980(a)(2), protects sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 against unauthorized public performance.
The opinion is a huge victory for sound recording copyright owners and a big defeat for transmission companies, one that threatens to undo a 75-year-old consensus that state law does not provide a public performance right for sound recordings.
Mr. Herlihy will discuss the decision and its wider implications for the music industry.
Date: December 3, 2014
Location: Suffolk University School of Law, Moot Court Room, Floor 4, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
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David Herlihy has maintained an intellectual property/new media/ entertainment law practice in Newton, Massachusetts since 1993. He is an Associate Academic Specialist at Northeastern University, in the College of Art, Media & Design and the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, where he lectures about copyright law and the entertainment industry, and supervises the University’s student-run record label.
David was the lead singer and principal songwriter for O POSITIVE (a Boston-based musical group with full length albums on Epic Records and several independent record labels). David is still active in the recording studio and he occasionally performs live with the band Hey Dave.