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Paul McCartney is suing Sony over ownership of The Beatles’ music

The world of copyright law is a complex beast indeed, and so needlessly disparate that here we are, watching Paul McCartney sue Sony/ATV over the ownership of the music he wrote half a century ago.

The federal lawsuit sees McCartney aiming to regain his copyrights to The Beatles songs he wrote with John Lennon, based on a 1976 copyright act which declares that works prior to 1978 be returned to their creators 56 years after the date of original copyright.

paul mccartney sony

Paul McCartney takes aim at music giant Sony/ATV, suing the corporation for the rights to music he wrote over 50 years ago.

October 2018 will mark 56 years since Lennon and McCartney started writing songs together in 1962.

The tale of The Beatles’ copyright ownership is long-winded and complex beyond belief. Between 1962 and 1967 the rights went to various publishers and in the 80s many of the songs belonged to ATV.

In 1984 the catalogue was auctioned off, when none other than Michael Jackson outbid McCartney for ownership for a price tag of $47.5 million. Jackson then went on to help form and work with Sony/ATV, who have retained the rights since.

A rep from Sony publishing had the following to say to Rolling Stone:

“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 and McCartney song catalog.”

“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. We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature.”

Via Rolling Stone.

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January 20, 2017

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