Pandora sued by record labels for copyright infringement

Sony, Warner, and Universal argue that under state law, the music streaming service must pay license fees for songs recorded before 1972.


Pandora has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by major record labels, according to The New York Times. The labels contend that the music streaming service must pay license fees for songs recorded before 1972.

The suit was filed in New York state court by Sony, Warner, and Universal, according to the Times. The labels argue that even though older songs, like James Brown's "I Got You" and the Beatles' "Hey Jude," aren't protected under federal copyright law -- they are covered by state laws.

The record labels claim they lose millions of dollars yearly from Pandora, other streaming music services, and satellite radio companies for playing older songs. Many of these songs are played on streaming stations like "Golden Oldies" and "50s Rock 'n' Roll," and the labels say they should get royalties for these pre-1972 songs.

"This case presents a classic attempt by Pandora to reap where it has not sown," the labels say in the suit, according to the Times. "Pandora appropriates plaintiffs' valuable and unique property, violates New York law, and engages in common law copyright infringement and misappropriation and unfair competition."

The streaming music service maintains it has not broken the law. When contacted by CNET, a spokesperson said, "Pandora is confident in its legal position and looks forward to a quick resolution of this matter."

Pandora's shares fell 1.1 percent, or 32 cents, to $27.02 on Thursday before the news.

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