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Broadcaster Response in Music Royalty Suit Delayed

ABS Entertainment earlier filed against iHeartMedia, CBS Corp. and Cumulus Media

Three major broadcast groups preparing to defend themselves in federal copyright protection suits filed against them in California and New York now have more time to respond to the suits.

ABS Entertainment in August filed class action suits against iHeartMedia, CBS Corp. and Cumulus Media over potential royalties owed for playing music recorded prior to 1972.

It had been anticipated that broadcasters would be answering the complaint this month but the response period has been extended 30 days to mid-October in most cases. The parties are working to coordinate actions between the mirroring suits in the two states, according to court filings.

“Defendants anticipate bringing a motion challenging the sufficiency of the complaint,” according to the latest court documents.

Federal copyright protection has long applied to songwriting rights but it wasn’t extended to sound recordings until 1972, according to the suit. Radio broadcasters have not paid recording royalties on the music they play produced prior to Feb. 15, 1972, the plaintiff claims in its filings.

ABS Entertainment filed the suits on its behalf and all other similarly situated owners of sound recordings, according to court documents.

The Arkansas-based company says it has exclusive ownership to the sound recordings of R&B artists Al Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay and several other artists.