The panel reversed the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment to Flo & Eddie, Inc. in its action against Sirius XM satellite radio, seeking royalties for pre-1972 songs that were played on Sirius XM without permission or compensation.
The complaint alleged a violation of California common law and statutory copyright law. Flo & Eddie control the rights to the songs of the rock band the Turtles. Relying on California’s copyright statute, Cal. Civil Code § 980, Flo & Eddie argued that California law gave it the “exclusive ownership” of its pre-1972 songs, including the right of public performance, which required compensation whenever their copyrighted recordings were publicly performed.
The panel held that the district court erred in concluding that “exclusive ownership” under Section 980(a)(2) included the right of public performance. Without contrary evidence, the panel presumed that California did not upend the common law in establishing “exclusive ownership” in the statute. The panel remanded for entry of judgment consistent with the terms of the parties’ contingent settlement agreement.
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