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Pre-1972 Music Flap Continues

Sheridans file in New Jersey against iHeartMedia and Illinois

The merry-go-around of lawsuits targeting broadcasters for the pre-1972 music they play continues with additional filings this week in two more states.

Arthur and Barbara Sheridan filed federal class action suits against iHeartMedia in New Jersey and Illinois over allegedly unpaid royalties and unauthorized use of pre-1972 recordings. The suit contends the broadcaster violated the plaintiff’s rights under both states’ common law prohibition of misappropriation and unjust enrichment.

Arthur Sheridan is a record producer who owns the intellectual property rights to numerous pre-1972 master recordings, including songs by the Moonglows and the Flamingos, according to the lawsuits. The couple also filed a similar suit in that state this week against Sirius XM.

Pandora was also named in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Sheridans this week in New Jersey, according to several industry trade reports, though RW has not verified that.

ABS Entertainment, a company that is associated with Arthur and Barbara Sheridan, previously filed class action suits against iHeartMedia, CBS Radio and Cumulus Media in California and New York federal courts seeking injunctions to prevent them from playing pre-1972 music and collecting potential royalties. ABS owns the Hi Records library.

Currently, pre-1972 music copyright suits exist against broadcasters in New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois and Georgia. Legal observers have said there is a chance the cases could be consolidated.

CBS Radio, iHeartMedia and Cumulus have all declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

Old Music Brings New Headaches