Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is This Lawsuit about?
  2. What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
  3. Who Is Included in the Settlement Classes?
  4. What Did I Need to Do to Participate in the Settlement?
  5. What Benefits Does the Settlement Provide?
  6. What Am I Giving Up as Part of the Settlement?
  7. What Other Agencies Are Eligible for Benefits?
  8. Did the Defendants Have a Potential Right to Reversion?
  9. Did the Defendants Have a Potential Right to Terminate?
  10. What Did I Need to Do to Exclude Myself from the Settlement?
  11. What Happens if I Excluded Myself from the Settlement?
  12. What Did I Need to Do to Object to the Settlement?
  13. How Will the Lawyers be Paid?
  14. When Did the Court Decide to Approve the Settlement?
  15. What if My Address Changes?
  16. How Can I Get More Information?



1. What Is This Lawsuit about?

On July 10, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against Sirius in the Southern District of New York. In such complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that Sirius, from on or about November 1, 2005 forward has, by virtue of its activities in connection with the Sirius Recording Devices (defined below), infringed and violated Plaintiffs’ and members of the Settlement Classes’ rights under federal and New York law. As a result of this alleged conduct, Plaintiffs allege that they and other members of the Classes were harmed.

On February 11, 2008, Sirius answered Plaintiffs’ complaint denying all of the allegations.

The parties engaged in extensive settlement discussions beginning shortly after the filing of Plaintiffs’ complaint. These discussions included Plaintiffs’ review of documents produced by Sirius. By April 29, 2011, the parties executed the Settlement Agreement.

On or around February 10, 2009, the news media began reporting that Sirius XM was preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing. By entering into the Settlement Agreement with Plaintiffs, Sirius does not admit that it engaged in the unlawful conduct alleged in this Action. If Sirius did not enter into the Settlement Agreement with Plaintiffs, Sirius would assert a number of defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims.

Neither Plaintiffs nor Sirius have proven their assertions. The Court expresses no opinion as to whether Plaintiffs’ allegations are correct or whether Sirius’ defenses are correct.

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2. What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action is a lawsuit in which a few representative plaintiffs bring a lawsuit against defendants on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated persons. The representative plaintiffs, the court, and counsel appointed to represent the class all have a responsibility to make sure that the interests of all class members are adequately represented. Importantly, class members are NOT individually responsible for the attorneys’ fees or litigation expenses of class counsel. In a class action, attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses are paid from the settlement fund (or the court judgment amount) and must be approved by the court. When a class enters into a proposed settlement with a defendant, such as this settlement with Sirius, then the court will require that the class be given notice of the settlement and be given an opportunity to be heard. The court then conducts a hearing to determine, among other things, if the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.

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3. Who Is Included in the Settlement Classes?

The Settlement Classes are defined as follows:

  1. Sound Recording Settlement Class

    All persons or entities who own or control (in whole or in part) exclusive rights in at least one sound recording protected under federal copyright law and/or state common law and/or unfair competition law that was transmitted by the Sirius Service at least once during the time period from November 1, 2005 through August 26, 2011.
  2. Musical Composition Settlement Class

    All persons or entities who own or control (in whole or in part) exclusive rights in at least one musical composition protected under federal copyright law of which a sound recording embodying such musical composition was transmitted by the Sirius Service at least once during the time period from November 1, 2005 through August 26, 2011.
  3. Excluded Persons and Entities

    For a list of Persons and entities excluded from the Settlement, please view the August 26, 2011 Preliminary Approval Order, available under the “Court Documents” tab on this website.

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4. What Did I Need to Do to Participate in the Settlement?

If you are a member of either Settlement Class, you will remain in that Settlement Class unless you elected to be excluded. As a member of a Settlement Class, your interests are represented by the representative Plaintiffs and Class Counsel. However, you could have your own attorney appear on your behalf at your expense. If you received the Notice by mail, you were automatically registered to receive future Notice mailings, and did not need to take further action. If you reviewed the Notice online, or received a copy by some means other than by mail from the Administrator, you had to register to receive future Notices and a Proof of Claim.

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5. What Benefits Does the Settlement Provide?

On behalf of the Settlement Classes, Plaintiffs entered into the Settlement. First, Sirius has agreed to remedial relief set forth in the Settlement Agreement. This includes Sirius’ agreement that prevents Sirius from including any Disaggregation Function in Sirius Recording Devices through and including at least December 31, 2011. See ¶48 of the Settlement Agreement.

Second, Sirius has agreed to pay $1,600,000 to the Sound Recording Settlement Class for Sirius Recording Devices activated at any time through December 31, 2011.

Third, Sirius has agreed to pay $644,133 to the Music Composition Settlement Class for Sirius Recording Devices activated at any time through December 31, 2011.

Fourth, Sirius’ additional obligations are described in full in the Settlement Agreement. In consideration for all of the foregoing, Sirius will be released from all Claims asserted against it on behalf of the Settlement Classes in the Action.

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6. What Am I Giving Up as Part of the Settlement?

IF YOU DID NOT EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT CLASSES WHEN THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BECAME FINAL, YOU RELEASED SIRIUS FOR THE CLAIMS DESCRIBED BELOW, AND YOU ARE BOUND BY THE RELEASES IN THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, INCLUDING THE COVENANT NOT TO SUE—EVEN IF YOU DID NOT FILE A CLAIM FORM OR PARTICIPATE IN THE SETTLEMENT FUND.

In exchange for Sirius’ payments and additional obligations described above, members of the Settlement Classes will release their claims against Sirius that were asserted or relate to those asserted as is more fully set forth below.

“Released Claims” means both the Sound Recording Settlement Class Released Claims and the Musical Composition Settlement Class Released Claims, but does not include any claims for breach of the Settlement Agreement. As used herein and as a separately bargained for element of the Settlement, Released Claims shall be deemed to include an express waiver of any and all provisions, rights and benefits conferred by any law of any state or territory of the United States, or principle of common or international law which is similar, comparable, or equivalent to Cal. Civ. Code §1542, which provides:

A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.

“Sirius Recording Devices” refers to any portable radio manufactured under license from Sirius and activated at any time through the end of the Term that is capable of receiving and decoding transmissions of the Sirius Service and of making recordings from such transmissions.

“Sound Recording Settlement Class Released Claims” are any and all claims, rights, demands, obligations, controversies, debts, damages, losses, suits, causes of action, damages whenever incurred or liabilities of any kind or nature whatsoever, including costs, expenses, penalties and attorneys’ fees, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, in law or equity with respect to any and all plays of such sound recordings broadcast to any and all Sirius Recording Devices as against any of the Released Persons that, from the beginning of time through the date of the Final Approval Order, arise from, or are related in any way to the claims asserted in this Action, including any and all claims (i) brought or which could have been brought in this Action by Plaintiffs or by one or more members of the Sound Recording Settlement Class in connection with the recording or other exploitation capabilities and related functionality of the Sirius Recording Devices including without limitation Discontinued Units and FIFO Units; (ii) alleging that Sirius is liable to any Plaintiff or any member of the Sound Recording Settlement Class with regard to any sound recording transmitted by the Sirius Service under one or more theories of copyright infringement or any other wrongdoing alleged in this Action; (iii) arising from, or related to, the recording of Sirius’ Service on Sirius Recording Devices including without limitation Discontinued Units and FIFO Units; (iv) arising from or related to, the sales, marketing and promotion of Sirius Recording Devices including without limitation Discontinued Units and FIFO Units; and/or (v) arising from, or related to, ephemeral reproductions of sound recordings on computers and other transmission equipment owned or controlled or otherwise utilized by Sirius for making transmissions as part of the Sirius Service. Nothing in this Paragraph shall be construed to release claims of any person or entity who is not a Plaintiff or a member of the Sound Recording Settlement Class.

“Musical Composition Settlement Class Released Claims” means any and all claims, rights, demands, obligations, controversies, debts, damages, losses, suits, causes of action, damages whenever incurred or liabilities of any kind or nature whatsoever, including costs, expenses, penalties and attorneys’ fees, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, in law or equity as against any of the Released Persons that, from the beginning of time through the date of the Final Approval Order, arise from, or are related in any way to the claims asserted in this Action, including any and all claims (i) brought or which could have been brought in this Action by Plaintiffs or by one or more members of the Musical Composition Settlement Class in connection with the recording or other exploitation capabilities and related functionality of the Sirius Recording Devices including without limitation Discontinued Units and FIFO Units; (ii) alleging that Sirius is liable to any Plaintiff or any member of the Musical Composition Settlement Class with regard to any musical composition (or a sound recording embodying it) transmitted by the Sirius Service under one or more theories of copyright infringement or any other wrongdoing alleged in this Action; (iii) arising from, or related to, the recording of any musical composition (or a sound recording embodying it) transmitted by Sirius’ Service on Sirius Recording Devices including without limitation Discontinued Units and FIFO Units; (iv) arising from, or related to the sales, marketing and promotion of Sirius Recording Devices including without limitation Discontinued Units and FIFO Units, and/or (v) arising from, or related to, ephemeral reproductions of musical compositions (or sound recordings embodying them) on computers and other transmission equipment owned or controlled or otherwise utilized by Sirius for making transmissions as part of the Sirius Service. Nothing in this Paragraph shall be construed to release claims of any person or entity who is not a Plaintiff or a member of the Musical Composition Settlement Class.

“Released Persons” means Sirius, its predecessors or successors, and any of its present or former principals, officers, executives, directors, employees, agents, attorneys, shareholders, Subscribers, retail sellers, designers, manufacturers and distributors of Sirius Recording Devices, advisors, parents, subsidiaries or affiliates and associates and each of their assigns, representatives, heirs, executors and administrators. Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement, the Released Claims in favor of the Released Persons shall not include any claims arising from or related to any recording devices used by subscribers to the XM satellite radio service (as opposed to subscribers to the Sirius Service), including without limitation the models known as the Inno, Helix, Nexus and SkyFi3, which claims were the subject of the action Nota Music Publishing, Inc. et al., v. XM Satellite Radio Inc., 07-cv-4682 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y.).

“Releasors” means the Plaintiffs, the members of the Sound Recording Settlement Class, the members of the Musical Composition Settlement Class and the present or former principals, officers, executives, directors, employees, agents, attorneys, shareholders, advisors, parents, subsidiaries or affiliates and associates of the any of the foregoing persons or entities and each of their assigns, predecessors, successors, representatives, heirs, executors and administrators.

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The Settlement Agreement does not settle or compromise any Claims other than those set out therein. All rights of any member of the Settlement Classes against any other person or entity other than the Released Parties are specifically reserved by Plaintiffs and the members of the Settlement Classes.

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7. What Other Agencies Are Eligible for Benefits?

Members or Affiliates of Music and Entertainment
Rights Licensing Independent Network B.V.

If you are a member of the Sound Recording Settlement Class and also a member or affiliate of Music and Entertainment Rights Licensing Independent Network B.V. (“Merlin”), Merlin has agreed to file a Proof of Claim on your behalf. See Stipulation Governing Reimbursement of Expenses and Compensation of Services for Merlin at ¶4.

For these purposes an “affiliate” of Merlin is a member of the Sound Recording Settlement Class whose recordings are licensed to or distributed by a member of Merlin (for example under a distribution or aggregator agreement).

Merlin did NOT submit a Proof of Claim on behalf of any members of the Musical Composition Settlement Class. Accordingly, if you are a Merlin member and also a member of the Musical Composition Settlement Class, you had to submit your own Proof of Claim in order to participate in the Settlement as a member of the Musical Composition Settlement Class.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, any member or affiliate of Merlin had the right to exclude themselves from the Settlement and/or file its own Proof of Claim. Any individual action (including filing a Proof of Claim) by a member or affiliate of Merlin constituted that Sound Recording Settlement Class member’s operative conduct and superseded any action taken by Merlin.

Publisher-Principals of The Harry Fox Agency

If you are a publisher-principal of The Harry Fox Agency and you joined the settlement negotiated by Sirius and The Harry Fox Agency dated September 16, 2010, on behalf of certain of The Harry Fox Agency’s publisher-principals, then you could NOT participate as a member of the Musical Composition Settlement Class. See ¶47 of the Settlement Agreement.

If you are a publisher-principal of The Harry Fox Agency and were offered and did not join the settlement negotiated by Sirius and The Harry Fox Agency dated September 16, 2010, then you could have participated as a member of the Musical Composition Settlement Class.

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8. Did the Defendants Have a Potential Right to Reversion?

Pursuant to section VIII of the Settlement Agreement, the Defendants were provided with limited rights of reversion. Class members are referred to the Settlement Agreement, particularly Section VIII thereof, for the full terms of Defendants reversion rights.

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9. Did the Defendants Have a Potential Right to Terminate?

Pursuant to Section VI of the Settlement Agreement, Defendants had the right (but not the obligation) to terminate the Settlement Agreement if certain conditions were not satisfied. Class members are referred to the Settlement Agreement, particularly Section VI thereof, for the full terms of Defendants’ termination rights.

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10. What Did I Need to Do to Exclude Myself from the Settlement?

To exclude yourself from the Sound Recording Settlement Class and/or the Musical Composition Settlement Class, you had to submit a written request.

Requests for exclusion from the Settlement had to be sent by First-Class mail to Class Counsel, Counsel for Sirius, and the Administrator, and had to be postmarked no later than November 25, 2011.

In order to be excluded from the Settlement Classes, you had to timely request exclusion in the manner set forth herein even if you have filed or intend to file your own lawsuit against Sirius based on claims that arise out of the conduct at issue in this litigation.

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11. What Happens if I Excluded Myself from the Settlement?

If you excluded yourself from the Settlement Classes, you will not be bound by the Settlement Agreement and can independently pursue claims you may have against Sirius at your own expense. However, if you excluded yourself, you will not be eligible to share in the Settlement Fund.

If you did not request exclusion, you will remain a member of the Settlement Classes.

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12. What Did I Need to Do to Object to the Settlement?

The deadline to object to the Settlement was December 20, 2011.

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13. How Will the Lawyers be Paid?

You are not personally responsible for payment of attorneys’ fees or expenses. At the Fairness Hearing on January 9, 2012, Class Counsel and Merlin received approval from the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees—to be deducted from the Settlement Fund—in an amount not to exceed one-third (or 33 1/3%) of the Settlement Fund, plus interest, as well as reimbursement for their expenses actually incurred in the prosecution of the litigation. The Court also approved an award in the aggregate amount of $60,000, to be shared among the Plaintiff class representatives.

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14. When Did the Court Decide to Approve the Settlement?

The Court held a “Fairness Hearing” on January 9, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court determined that the proposed Settlement and the proposed Plan of Allocation are fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court also granted Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.

If you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement Classes, you were entitled to appear, in person or through duly authorized attorneys, and to show cause why the Settlement Agreement or other applications should or should not have been approved as fair, reasonable and adequate. However, if you wished to appear, you must have submitted a written statement no later than December 20, 2011.

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15. What if My Address Changes?

If your address changes, please contact the Administrator at the address listed below.

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16. How Can I Get More Information?

If you reviewed this website and the documents available here, but would like to receive more information, you may contact the Settlement Administrator by email, notavsirius@gcginc.com, by telephone at 1 (888) 885-9692, or by mail at the following address:

In re Sirius Satellite Radio Copyright Litigation
c/o GCG, Inc.
P.O. Box 9739
Dublin, OH 43017-5639

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Important Dates
DateDeadline
April 6, 2012
(Expired)
Claim Form Deadline
(postmarked)
November 25, 2011
(Expired)
Exclusion Deadline
(postmarked)
December 20, 2011
(Expired)
Objection Deadline
(filed and received)
January 9, 2012
at 10:00 a.m.
(Approved)
Fairness Hearing

Your Options

  • To find out details regarding the Settlement, please consult the Notice