McCartney drags Sony to court over Beatles songs

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Paul McCartney of The Beatles
Paul McCartney of The Beatles

Paul McCartney, a member of the popular music group “The Beatles” says he wants his music to get back to where it once belonged following a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday against Sony/ATV.

The legal battle which is over copyright ownership of the many hit songs McCartney wrote with John Lennon as part of The Beatles could become one of the most important in the music industry this decade, as the iconic songwriter is looking to leverage the termination provisions of the Copyright Act.

The copyrights were famously bought by Michael Jackson in 1985 and then fully sold over to Sony/ATV following his death.

McCartney has long wanted the copyrights, and the filing says he has sent notice to Sony/ATV saying that he will claim them back under a provision of U.S. copyright law that makes that possible after a certain time.

In 1976, Congress increased the period that works are under copyright protection, and, in recognition of authors who had signed over their rights to publishers and studios without much bargaining power, allowed such authors 35 years hence to reclaim rights in the latter stages of a copyright term.

Artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Prince have used the mere threat of termination to negotiate new deals and better compensation arrangements.

According to McCartney’s complaint, he transferred rights to songs co-authored by him and John Lennon between 1962 and 1971 to various music publishers.

The first song eligible to be claimed back is “Love Me Do,” in October 2018. The rest of the catalog would follow in years after, ending in 2026.

McCartney wants a ruling to say his claiming them doesn’t represent a legal breach of any contract or publishing agreement that Sony/ATV could use against him.

“Defendants have attempted to reserve their rights to challenge Paul McCartney’s exercise of his termination rights on contractual ground,” the filing says.

It adds, “A judicial declaration is necessary and appropriate at this time so that Paul McCartney can rely on quiet, unclouded title to his rights.”

Sony/ATV said it had “the highest respect” for McCartney.

“We have collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon’s Estate for decades to protect, preserve and promote the catalog’s long-term value,” the company said, adding that it was “disappointed” over the filing of the lawsuit, which it said is “unnecessary and premature.”

Source: foxnews


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