Beatles' Apple Corps and Subafilms Ltd Sued Over Use of 1965 Shea Stadium Footage

by VVN Music

If the company Syd Bernstein Presents, LLC has its way, you won't be seeing Ron Howard's new Beatles documentary Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years anytime soon.

The company of the late-promoter has brought suit against Apple Corps and Subafilms, LTD, both related with the legacy of the Beatles, for using footage of the 1965 concert at Shea Stadium which they say is their property.

Bernstein produced the 1965 show and hired the Beatles and other artists who played on the bill and, although the Beatles' business enterprises obtained the copyright to the concert footage in that year, he has disputed their copyright claim.

All of the legal wrangling began earlier this year when the company became aware that a 30-minute film of the concert was being assembled for use with Howard's documentary. They initially tried to establish their right to the footage with the copyright office but were rejected. Now, they are moving forward with the lawsuit.

The following, from the filing, is the logic used by the Bernstein company to try to reestablish their ownership:
By reason of being the producer of and having made creative contributions to the 1965 Shea Stadium performance, as well as being the employer for hire of the Beatles and the opening acts, who performed at his instance and expense, Sid Bernstein was the dominant, and hence sole, author of the copyrightable work embodied in the Master Tapes, and the sole owner of all exclusive rights therein.
The suit not only references the upcoming film but also seeks damages for the use of the footage in the mid-90's on The Beatles Anthology and its associated products. They are seeking an injunction to stop the showing of the footage in any form and that the copyright decision be deemed invalid and they be awarded ownership of the master footage.

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