Paul McCartney settles with Sony/ATV over Beatles rights

Paul McCartney settles with Sony/ATV over Beatles rights

Paul McCartney has reached a settlement with Sony/ATV over The Beatles song rights, avoiding a lengthy legal battle. 

In January, the star began proceedings to regain the rights to some of the Fab Four’s biggest songs.

“The parties have resolved this matter by entering into a confidential settlement agreement and jointly request that the court enter the enclosed proposed order dismissing the above-referenced action without prejudice,” said McCartney’s attorney Michael Jacobs, in a letter to US District Judge Edgardo Ramos.

Sony/ATV has "confirmed the parties have resolved the matter", details of which have remained confidential, but offered no further comment. 

Michael Jackson famously purchased the rights to many Beatles classics in the 1980s, including the likes of Love Me Do, Yesterday, The Long And Winding Road, Hey Jude and Let It Be. He then bought shares in Sony/ATV and, following his death, his estate sold them back for $750m. The US Copyright Act 1976 created a non-waivable right for authors to reclaim their ownership interest on or before Jan 1 1978.

Love Me Do is the first song that will be eligible to be claimed back in October 2018. The rest of the catalogue’s time limits will elapse at various dates through to 2026.

McCartney cited the 1976 Copyright Act, which outlines that rights to music made before 1978 must be returned to the original composers 56 years after the date of the original copyright. In McCartney’s case, 2018 will mark 56 years since he and John Lennon began writing together in 1962.

By Alex Pearson

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