A lengthy legal battle has been avoided after Paul McCartney and music publishers Sony ATV reached a settlement over copyright to the Beatles catalogue.
The former Beatle had filed a lawsuit at the beginning of the year in a US court in an attempt to secure the rights from the publishing giant, writes The Hollywood Reporter. The case was based on the US Copyright Act of 1976 that was designed to favour songwriters who could reclaim copyright from music publishers 35 years after they’d surrendered their rights – and 56 years for songs written before 1978.
However, British courts took a different view. Last December, 80s ‘Rio’ hitmakers Duran Duran were refused the rights to their material on the grounds that US laws held no sway in the UK.
However, any bands hoping for tips on how to win back their copyright from publishers will be left disappointed as the terms and conditions of the deal are subject to a confidentiality clause.
Writing to U.S. Distict Judge Edgardo Ramos, McCartney’s attotney Michael Jacobs said: "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.”
What is known is that the order specifies that the New York federal court will "enforce the terms of the parties’ Settlement Agreement, should a dispute arise."
The resolution will come as some relief for McCartney as the 56 year time frame was set to be met in October 2018 – the anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ first single, ‘Love Me Do’.
In a moment of supreme irony, the rights to the Beatles’ lucrative back catalogue were snapped up by Michael Jackson after McCartney advised the Thriller star to invest in music publishing. This he did as a joint venture with Japan’s Sony Corp who ended up buying the late singer’s 50% state last year for $750m.