Paul McCartney suing Sony for Beatles songs

  • 20/01/2017
Sir Paul McCartney performing at Desert Trip (Getty)
Sir Paul McCartney (Getty)

Sir Paul McCartney is suing Sony for control over the Beatles' back catalogue, after being famously outbid for them by Michael Jackson.

The musical icon is seeking to ownership of the 267 Beatles songs through what is known as copyright termination: the right of authors to reclaim ownership of their works from music publishers after a specific length of time has passed.

Sir Paul filed his legal case in a Manhattan court on Wednesday (local time) after Jackson's debt-ridden estate sold the Beatles catalogue to Sony last year.

In the filing, his lawyers detail the steps they have taken over the past nine years to reclaim Sir Paul's piece of the copyrights in dozens of Beatles songs he wrote with John Lennon, including 'Love Me Do', 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' and 'All You Need Is Love'.

Sony said it was "disappointed" by Sir Paul's action, calling it "both unnecessary and premature".

In a statement, the company added it had "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 catalogue".

Duran Duran recently lost a similar case at the British High Court, but Sir Paul's suit is filed in the US, where copyright law is somewhat different.

The verdict in the Sir Paul versus Sony suit could have major ramifications for other British artists.