Former Beatle Paul McCartney filled a lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing in federal court in New York on Wednesday, hoping to reclaim the ownership of 267 Beatles songs that Michael Jackson acquired in 1985.
More than two decades ago, Michael Jackson outbid Paul McCartney for the publishing rights 267 Beatles songs, paying $47.5 million as part of a much larger catalog of 4,000 songs from Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court. Jackson later sold the collection to Sony/ATV.
According to his lawsuit, McCartney put Sony/ATV on notice in October of 2008 that he wanted to reclaim rights to the many songs he co-wrote with the John Lennon from September 1962 to June 1971.
Sony/ATV has failed to acknowledge the composer's rights to terminate copyrights, according to the suit, under the U.S. Copyright Act. "Because the earliest of Paul McCartney's terminations will take effect in 2018, a judicial declaration is necessary and appropriate at this time so that Paul McCartney can rely on quiet, unclouded title to his rights," the suit claims.
The music publisher called the lawsuit "unnecessary and premature" in an emailed statement to Reuters. "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," Sony/ATV said.