Paul McCartney sues Sony to regain copyright to Beatles' songs
Former Beatle Paul McCartney has filed a lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing hoping to recover the rights to some of his songs he wrote with John Lennon. They include Beatles classics like Across the Universe, Love Me Do, and I Want to Hold Your Hand.
In 1969, McCartney and Lennon lost out to ATV, which acquired their original publishers, Northern Songs.
In 1985, Michael Jackson outbid McCartney and bought the ATV catalog of 4,000 songs including 267 written the Beatles, for $47.5 million.
A decade later, the King of Pop’s Sony-based label absorbed the ATV collection, creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which has become the world's biggest song publisher.
Seven years after Jackson’s death in 2016 his estate sold his stake in the company, including the Beatles' songs, to Sony for $750,000.
Now, McCartney hopes to regain the rights to the songs under the US Copyright Act of 1976. The American legislation allows songs written before 1978 to return to the songwriter after a period of 56 years.
As McCartney wants back songs written from 1962 to 1971, some of them will have hit the 56-year mark by 2018.
"Because the earliest of Paul McCartney's terminations will take effect in 2018, a judicial declaration is necessary and appropriate at this time so that Paul McCartney can rely on quiet, unclouded title to his rights," the suit said.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing called the lawsuit "unnecessary and premature."
"Sony/ATV has the highest respect for Sir Paul McCartney, with whom we have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with respect to the treasured Lennon & McCartney song catalog," the company said.
Last year, British rock band Duran Duran lost a similar case against Sony/ATV.