May 17, 2017

Rock on! Supreme Court will answer Ninth Circuit’s questions in The Turtles case

The Supreme Court today granted the Ninth Circuit’s request to answer questions about state copyright law in an action brought by the band The Turtles.  The questions are:  “1. Under section 980(a)(2) of the California Civil Code, do copyright owners of pre-1972 sound recordings that were sold to the public before 1982 possess an exclusive right of public performance?  2. If not, does California’s common law of property or tort otherwise grant copyright owners of pre-1972 sound recordings an exclusive right of public performance?”

The answer to the questions might affect a recent settlement in a related class action against Sirius XM Radio.

The Supreme Court is very accommodating of the Ninth Circuit.  It has now denied just one of the Ninth Circuit’s last 17 requests for help deciphering California law, and even the one wasn’t really a denial.

Leave a Reply