Pandora faces lawsuit over pre-1972 recordings usage

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Music streaming service, Pandora, has been sued by some of the major U.S. music companies for failing to pay royalties for the use of recordings made before 1972.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an immediate halt to Pandora’s “massive and continuing unauthorized commercial exploitation” of older songs.

Five of the music labels who filed the lawsuit against Pandora on Thursday in the New York state court include Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Warner Music Group and ABKCO Music & Records. The labels argue that Pandora’s use of songs recorded before 1972 is a violation of the New York state law.

According to the New York Times, the California-based music streaming service is being accused of “massive and continuing unauthorized commercial exploitation” of thousands of recordings including iconic songs such as the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

The labels claim that they are losing tens of millions of dollars every year because of Pandora, other streaming music services, and satellite radio companies.

“This case presents a classic attempt by Pandora to reap where it has not sown,” the labels said in the lawsuit. “Pandora appropriates plaintiffs’ valuable and unique property, violates New York law and engages in common law copyright infringement and misappropriation and unfair competition.”

“Pandora is confident in its legal position and looks forward to a quick resolution of this matter,” a Pandora spokesman said in an email.