Pandora Radio has become one of today’s most recognized streaming radio services, allowing users to listen to an algorithmically generated playlist of songs based on the user’s preferences. The ease of use has made Pandora a household name, but the company is being sued over some of music’s classic hits, reports The New York Times.
Several major record labels announced last week that they are suing Pandora for copyright infringement. The lawsuit pertains to songs recorded prior to 1972 for which the labels contend that Pandora needs to pay licensing fees for. The Times reports that recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972, are not subject to federal copyright protection and may be missing out on tens of millions of dollars in royalties.
The three major labels involved — Sony, Universal and Warner Music— all believe that they are owed royalties under New York State law.
“This case presents a classic attempt by Pandora to reap where it has not sown,” says the label involved in the suit. “Pandora appropriates plaintiffs’ valuable and unique property, violates New York law and engages in common law copyright infringement and misappropriation and unfair competition.”