The estates of Robin Williams and George Carlin have sued Sirius XM’s Pandora, saying that it streamed the late comedians’ recordings without proper licensing or even a “fraction of a penny” in compensation.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alongside related complaints from fellow comedians Andrew Dice Clay, Bill Engvall, and Ron White, according to the Washington Examiner.
The lawsuit claims that the comedians’ works “continue to be exploited, performed, broadcast, and streamed” across Pandora’s platforms without proper permission for years. The licenses Pandora does have for the comedians’ work do not include spoken-word comedy, raising “significant liability for copyright infringement,” the lawsuit claims.
“While Carlin would have been thrilled for his works to live on through valid licenses and payments, he would have seven dirty words to say about Pandora’s actions and willful copyright infringement, no doubt,” the Carlin paperwork states, according to Rolling Stone.
The lawsuit claims that Pandora improperly offered 27 of Williams’ works derived from his debut album “Reality … What a Concept” and “A Night At The Met,” through its digital broadcast radio service, Rolling Stone noted.
The legal documents cited by the outlet further claim that Carlin’s works come from several of his albums including “An Evening with Wally Londo,” “Class Clown,” “Classic Gold,” “George Carlin on Comedy,” “On the Road,” “Toledo Window Box,” and “You Are All Diseased.”
The estates, via the lawsuit, allege that Pandora “gained listeners, subscribers and market share with full knowledge it did not have licenses” to use the comedians’ works.
The lawsuit against Pandora asks for damages ranging from $4 million for Williams’ estate to nearly $13 million for White, the Washington Examiner reported.
Carlin died in 2008 and Williams died in 2014. Clay was known in the comedy circuits in the late 1980s and 1990s while White is known for his appearances on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which also elevated Engvall’s career.
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