Paul McCartney settles dispute with Sony publishers over Beatles rights

Paul McCartney and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have settled their dispute over The Beatles‘ publishing rights.

In January, the former Beatles member began proceedings to regain the rights to some of the Beatles songs.

It appears the two parties have now settled the matter with a confidential agreement, avoiding a lengthy legal battle.

“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”.

During the 1980’s Michael Jackson purchased the rights to many Beatles classics, including 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 1st Jan 1978.

Love Me Do is the first song that will be eligible to be claimed back in October 2018. Various other songs will expire at varying times until 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.


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