But its not been plain sailing for pre-1972 copyright owners - nor is the whole issue exactly clear. In August this year, U.S. Federal Court Judge Mary Strobel indicated that she was leaning towards rejecting a motion by Warner, Universal, Sony, Capitol and ABKCO Records to accept the labels' interpretation of the law in jury instructions in a similar matter. The plaintiffs again are arguing that state laws protect the misappropriation of older pre-1972 sound recordings that were authored before federal copyright protection applied. But in that case the judge wasn't ready to go that far and indicated that she felt the label's might be relying on inappropriate case law.
With Judge Strobel's approach, as well as pending cases on the same issue in Florida and New York - almost all commentators expect SiriusXM to appeal against Judge Gutierrez's ruling although conversely it remains to be seen whether Judge Strobel now feels obliged to follow this week's ruling as a precedent. In Octoberc 2013 Sirius said "As will be shown at a later stage of these proceedings, there is no state law that requires SiriusXM (or any of the hundreds of thousands of other U.S. businesses that publicly perform music) to pay license fees for Pre-1972 Recordings," adding that "Plaintiff’s multiple court filings constitute a form of lawsuit lottery in search of an elusive new state-law right that would radically overturn decades of settled practice."
The case is 13-cv-05693, Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., et al in the United States District Court, Central District of California