Appeals Court Reject Turtles’ Florida Music Royalties Claim

Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A federal appeals court closed the book on an effort by the Turtles to get royalties under Florida law from Sirius XM Radio Inc. for broadcasting “Happy Together” and their other 1960s-era hits.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Friday applied an October ruling by the Florida Supreme Court concluding that state law doesn’t create a royalty right for performers who played on a pre-1972 records.

Records made before 1972 aren’t protected by federal copyright law, so only composers or songwriters are compensated when oldies are played by services such as Sirius XM or Pandora Media Inc. The owners of the rights in the Turtles’ records have been going from state to state to try to get royalties under state laws.

The case is Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., 2018 BL 4045, 11th Cir., No. 15-13100, 1/5/18.