Paul McCartney Files Proactive Suit Against Sony/ATV Over Beatles Copyrights

by VVN Music

If everything goes by the word of the law, Paul McCartney will reacquire his music written with John Lennon while with the Beatles.

The Beatles compositions have taken a long road from the pen to where they stand today. The rights to the songs were sold by ATV to Michael Jackson for $41.5 million in 1985 when the gloved one outbid Paul. Last year, the estate of Michael Jackson sold the music rights back to Sony/ATV for $750 million (nice profit!); however, according to U.S. copyright law, the songs will revert to their original owners in 2018.

McCartney's fear is that Sony will not give up the rights without a long, expensive fight, so he has filed a suit in the Southern District Court of New York to confirm his ownership of the valuable portfolio.

A spokesperson for McCartney told Pitchfork:

Paul McCartney has today filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against Sony/ATV to confirm his ownership in his US reversionary copyrights, which are granted to him by US copyright law, in the songs he wrote with John Lennon and recorded with The Beatles. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and bears the case no. 17cv363.

The suit also indicates that McCartney has been filing paperwork with the owners of the music since October 2008 with his intentions of taking the ownership back. While there has been no indication that the current owner, Sony, will make any move to retain rights, they were the winners in a similar action last December when Duran Duran tried to regain the rights to their songs.

From the lawsuit, explaining the nature of the action:

Paul McCartney has served on Defendants and on others termination notices to reclaim his copyright interests in his musical compositions. The notices served on Defendants and recorded in the U.S. Copyright Office have effective dates starting October 5, 2018. In this action, Paul McCartney seeks a declaration that the Termination Notices served on Defendants are valid, that the Termination Notices will re-vest Paul McCartney’s copyright ownership in him on their effective termination dates, and that the Termination Notices do not give rise to any valid contract claim against Paul
McCartney.

For those who are conversant in legalese, read the full suit at The Hollywood Reporter.

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