Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Some major music labels are suing Pandora over old songs

It’s hard out there for everybody. You do your best and work hard, but sometimes you still don’t get that job you applied for, or that cute guy never calls back, or maybe the constant march of technology makes you and your entire industry increasingly obsolete. One long-suffering group that knows this all-too-well is the music industry, which just can’t seem to overcome the setbacks it has faced since, oh, the invention of the computer.

But don’t ever say the music industry went down without a fight, as it continues to futilely scratch at the face of those who intend to do it harm—usually by way of getting in between it and its money. The latest target of the music industry’s anger is Pandora, the popular music-streaming service. As reported by The Associated Press, a handful of the biggest labels—including Sony, Warner, and Universal—are suing Pandora because they believe it has been skipping out on licensing fees, specifically those associated with songs recorded before 1972. Evidently, that’s the cutoff year for music that is protected by federal copyright law, which Pandora allegedly sees as its cue to stream as much as it wants.


However, specific states like New York have passed their own laws protecting pre-1972 music. The record companies believe Pandora is infringing on this, and have therefore “deprived” these artists and labels of “tens of millions of dollars every year.” Artists like Aretha Franklin and The Beatles, whose labels could probably use that money to pay someone to count all the money they already have.

The whole lawsuit sounds a bit technical and arbitrary, as if the music companies are desperate for someone, anyone, to owe them money. Pandora, for the record, doesn’t seem all that worried about it, saying it “is confident in its legal position and looks forward to a quick resolution of this matter.” Don’t we all.

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