Paul McCartney sues Sony/ATV over Beatles royalties: Looking at the suit

Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit Jan. 18 against SONY/ATV Music Publishing and SONY/ATV Tunes LLC for declaratory judgment seeking to confirm he will get back his portion of the Beatles song copyrights from SONY/ATV in October, 2018. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

The complex main document seeks to
allow him to reclaim the ownership interests in the copyrights for
many of the songs McCartney wrote for the Beatles that were credited
to him and John Lennon in the 1960s and early 1970s. The suit states
that McCartney had filed termination notices to get back his
copyrights to the Beatles songs beginning in October, 2008. Most of
the catalog was originally published by Maclen Music, but some songs
were published by other companies, like Beechwood Music Corp. (“Love
Me Do,” “P.S. I Love You”) and EMI Unart Catalog Inc. (“Bad
To Me”).
Those termination dates that
effectively give him back his copyrights become effective on Oct. 5,
2018. McCartney’s legal brief asks a declaratory judgment to make it
clear that he will get back his copyrights on that date. The pages of
the lawsuit goes into the history of the music, going back to the
days of the Beatles and the history of McCartney’s many legal
maneuvers to try and get back his copyrights.
The suit asks for a declaration that
McCartney exercising his termination rights does not breach the
publishing agreements, a ruling that the publishing agreements that
conflict with McCartney’s termination notices are unenforceable, plus
legal costs. The suit also requests a jury trial. You can download
the full complaint from
The Hollywood Reporter
. There’s been no word of any reaction from
any of the other Beatles.
Sony/ATV issued a statement replying to
the suit that was published
Wednesday by Billboard
: “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.  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. Sony/ATV will not be commenting

McCartney announced a long-awaited
reissue of his Flowers in the
album in December. The reissue, to be released March 24,
will include previously unreleased demos done by McCartney and his
collaborator on the album Elvis Costello. It will be released in
several configurations including an expensive four-disc (3 CDs, 1
DVD) version. .  

Beatles News from Steve Marinucci