New York's highest court has ruled that the owners of old music recordings can't make radio stations pay for their use, deciding a legal dispute between the owner of The Turtles' 1967 hit song "Happy Together" and Sirius XM Radio.
A company controlled by two of The Turtles' founding members sued Sirius XM Radio arguing that its rights were violated when Sirius plays its old songs without permission or compensation.
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Sirius XM Radio had argued that it can play the songs without permission because they were made before 1972, when new federal copyright rules took effect.
Ruling Tuesday, the Court of Appeals ruled that state common law does not recognize a "right of public performance" that would require radio stations to have permission to play records made before 1972.