In Music Commentary

Flo & Eddie are currently suing SiriusXM for songs created before 1972. (PHOTO: The Turtles Facebook)

The fight rages on for digital music rights

There's plenty right with the music made before 1972, but there's a lot wrong with the rights of music from that time.

In the latest court twist, ABS Entertainment – which owns the rights to songs by Al Green, among others – is suing iHeartRadio, Cumulus and CBS for royalties due for music not covered through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The three largest radio station companies already pay ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for broadcast rights through over-the-air use. The problem comes about who is due the money through digital broadcast.

Flo & Eddie of The Turtles sued SiriusXM for songs created before 1972. They were successful in finding a way to get their due for their music. The pair knows about contracts; early in their career, they couldn't even use their real names – Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan – because someone else contractually owned it. When the pair were part of Frank Zappa's "Mothers of Invention," they used Flo & Eddie.

Music and radio are big business, and when creative-types feel they are hemmed in by industry interests, there usually is a lashing out.

The owners of Hi Records catalog of music is bringing in three separate class action suits in California to see if they can be a successful as Flo & Eddie were against SiriusXM. It will be interesting to watch the court proceedings, as it will set a path for the future of how our collective digital history of music is stored, streamed and shared with others.

When digital technology advances, it takes a while for the rest of media to catch up.

Talking the talk

Time Warner Cable SportsChannel announced last week that Tristain Thomas is the Season 5 winner of the outlet's "Talking the Talk" competition. Thomas and Dennis Krause appeared on "The Roundtable," along with WITI-TV Fox 6 Sports Director Tom Pipines, on a show this week.

Thomas, a Milwaukee native, is a medical contracting specialist in Holmen. He considers himself a sports junkie with a passion for the broadcasting industry.

"I just know this is what I was put here to do," Thomas said. "I truly hope this opportunity on 'The Roundtable' will be that launch pad. I'm going to work hard to make it so. This is my chance to do what I've always wanted to do with my life, and the time for my voice to be heard and make an impact is now."

10 years ago

Fox News Channel will present "FOX News Reporting: Timeline of Hurricane Katrina – 10th Anniversary" on at 9 p.m. on Friday. The special will feature first-hand accounts and interviews, as well as examine the timeline of events of Hurricane Katrina.

Shepard Smith, Bill Hemmer, Greta Van Susteren, Geraldo Rivera, Rick Leventhal, Steve Harrigan and Phil Keating will analyze FEMA's preparation for the storm, the massive flooding and destruction, the response from the local, state and federal government, and the recovery of the Gulf Coast.

The program also will showcase interviews with former head of FEMA Michael Brown, former President George W. Bush chief of staff Andy Card and former Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.

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