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Sir Paul McCartney Sues Sony Over Beatles’ Catalogue

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Sir Paul McCartney is now officially suing Sony Music for a reversion of the copyright to tunes he belted out with fellow Beatle John Lennon between 1962 and 1971. As early as 9 years ago, McCartney sent a notice to Sony, to the effect that he was moving to claim copyright to the content. However, over the years, they have refused to acknowledge his right to that move. Relations have been lukewarm between the parties over the years but Sony has maintained that they would find a middle ground in the conflict. It is their hesitation that has resulted in the singer moving to court.

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Rights to said Beatle classics were sold to the late Michael Jackson decades ago. However, when the King of Pop died, they were again sold to Sony, which has been managing them to date. The America Copyright Act argues that the owner of content has a right to claim it back from third party, and that the third party must be willing to relinquish those rights. The moves made by Sony in this case are not wholly unanticipated, as it is always a common practice for copyright buyers to want to hang on to content till the last minute.

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It is believed that Sony’s decision to stall is strategic. Up to a while ago, they were involved in a similar squabble with British band Duran Duran, who argued that the company needed to stop using its tunes. The music publishing company has been waiting to see out the conclusion of that bit of litigation in order to plot a move forward. If that is indeed the case, then they walk away from that case emboldened. This is because the British court in that case ruled in their favor, something Sir Paul McCartney’s team will find hard to take.

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In an emailed response, Sony bemoaned the decision by McCartney to make that move, saying that the company has the highest respect for the Knighted musician, and that it has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with him and other members of the Beatles during their lifetimes. However, the publisher says that it finds the decision to sue a little ‘disappointing and premature’. Premature because the earliest date at which the copyright on some of the songs can move is 2018. McCartney’s lawyers argue that this is the right time to act, because litigation takes time, and they are looking to set the stage for the transfer of said rights before it is too late.

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