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9th Circuit Defers to State Supreme Court for Pandora Appeal

March 16, 2017Media Mention
Los Angeles Daily Journal

William Hochberg was quoted in a March 16, 2017, Daily Journal article written by Steven Crighton discussing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ request, in the case of Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Pandora Media Inc., that the California Supreme Court offer guidance to clarify whether the state’s law has a “public performance right” that would allow artists to collect royalties for old tracks. At issue, is whether radio services like Pandora must pay new royalties to stream songs recorded before 1972.

The case involves Flo & Eddie, created by two founding members of the Turtles, and known for the song “Happy Together,” who filed class actions in California, New York and Florida on behalf of artists seeking royalties for songs recorded prior to 1972. Currently, streaming music services, including Pandora, have not paid royalties on these recordings.

“The states have a patchwork of laws that are inconsistent in dealing with these kinds of rights and sound recordings,” said Hochberg. “The world would be a lot simpler if we would federalize the protections for pre-1972 sound recordings, as the U.S. Copyright Office had recommended in its report a few years ago.”