Paul McCartney is suing Sony/ATV in federal court in New York, seeking a declaratory judgment to reclaim copyright ownership of songs he wrote with The Beatles.
A provision of the Copyright Act allows authors who signed over their rights to publishers and studios to reclaim those rights after a period of time, The Hollywood Reporter said, referring to the case as "what could become one of the most important legal battles in the music industry this decade."
Michael Jackson bought songs including "Yesterday," "Hey Jude," and "Let It Be" during the 1980s and entered a joint venture with Sony/ATV, The Hollywood reporter noted, adding that last year, Jackson's estate sold his remaining interest to Sony.
McCartney, who has reportedly made several claims since 2008, hopes to regain ownership rights as soon as Oct. 5, 2018.
McCartney has made several claims since 2008, Rolling Stone reported.
"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 and McCartney song catalog," a rep for the publishing company told Rolling Stone. "We have collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon's Estate for decades to protect, preserve and promote the catalog's long-term value. We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature."
By filing the lawsuit in the U.S., McCartney hopes the U.S. Copyright Law will take precedence over U.K. rules, after a U.K. court ruled last year that U.S. laws fell second in a similar case filed by Duran Duran, Rolling Stone noted.
McCartney is trying to regain rights to 267 songs composed between September 1962 and June 1971, which become eligible for copyright termination after 56 years under the U.S. Copyright Act, BBC News reported.
The news service noted the law's provision has been used by artists including Prince, Billy Joel, and Blondie to regain copyright ownership. Duran Duran lost its case under U.K. law, which allows music publishing companies to maintain copyright until 70 years after the artist's death.
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