Paul McCartney sues Sony/ATV for Beatles music rights

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By Curtis Skinner

<span class="articleLocation”>Former Beatle Paul McCartney sued Sony Corp’s music publishing arm on Wednesday in a federal court in
New York, seeking to get back the copyrights to music of his
former band, court records show.

Starting in October 2008, McCartney sent notices to Sony/ATV
Music Publishing stating his desire to reclaim the copyrights to
numerous songs, including Beatles hits “Across the Universe,” “Love Me Do,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the suit said.

Sony/ATV currently holds copyrights to the works, which were
jointly composed by McCartney and John Lennon between September
1962 and June 1971. The suit said the singer-songwriter would be
able to begin to reclaim his rights to the music as of next
October under the U.S. Copyright Act.

McCartney’s lawyers have repeatedly asked Sony/ATV to
acknowledge the musician’s rights to terminate copyright
transfers of the music, and the company has declined to do so,
the suit said.

“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” in an emailed statement.

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

The lawsuit said Sony/ATV attempted to stall talks with
McCartney until the conclusion of a lawsuit involving similar
claims by British pop band Duran Duran that was playing out in
an English court. Duran Duran lost the legal battle to a
Sony/ATV subsidiary in December.

“Rather than provide clear assurances to Paul McCartney that
defendants will not challenge his exercise of his termination
rights, defendants are clearly reserving their rights pending
the final outcome of the Duran Duran litigation,” McCartney’s
lawsuit said.

The suit is seeking a declaration from the court that
McCartney can reclaim his copyright interests in the songs, as
well as attorneys’ fees.



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