Merlin reaches US$1.6m settlement with Sirius

5 Apr 2012

Independent music rights agency Merlin has agreed to a US$1.6m settlement with the US satellite radio company Sirius XM. The class-action lawsuit centred on the Stiletto device, a receiver that allowed Sirius subscribers to record audio broadcast on its channels.

The settlement was reached following a long-running copyright infringement dispute with Sirius over its Stiletto device.

Merlin said that its decision to participate in the class action was pivotal to the achievement of the US$1.6m settlement for the entire independent record sector.

The lawsuit applies only to Sirius before its 2008 merger with XM Satellite Radio. Merlin separately settled with XM Satellite Radio in April of last year over its portable device, the Pioneer Inno recordable radio receiver and other similar recording devices.

The four major record labels settled with Sirius relating to the Inno and Sirius back in 2007 and 2008.

The class action means Merlin members and all other independent record labels that had their sound recordings transmitted by Sirius Satellite Radio between 1 November 2005 and 26 August 2011 have the opportunity to participate in the settlement.

Charles Caldas, CEO at Merlin, spoke about the importance of the settlement at a time when market consolidation is “swallowing up more independent interests” and giving more power to the largest major labels.

“Actions such as this further underline the enormous value that Merlin provides to the ever-growing list of independents that have chosen to enhance their business by joining our organisation,” he said.

Merlin itself commenced operations back in 2008. Since then, it has struck deals with digital services such as Spotify, YouTube, Google Music, Rdio and Simfy.

In that time frame, Merlin reached a number of copyright infringement settlements on behalf of its members with Limewire, Sirius Satellite Radio, XM Satellite Radio and Grooveshark.

It represents independent record labels, such as Warp Records, Epitaph, Naïve, Tommy Boy, One Little Indian, Yep Roc/Redeye, Kontor New Media, Beggars Group, Merge, !K7, PIAS, Domino and Koch/E1.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic