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Paul McCartney and Sony Settle Beatles Copyright Suit

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Paul McCartney and Sony have settled the lawsuit he filed back in January to reclaim the copyright to some of his earliest songs with the Beatles.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, McCartney and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have settled out of court. Details of the settlement are unknown.

“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,” McCartney’s attorney, Michael Jacobs, told U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos.

McCartney lost the rights to the Beatles catalog back in 1985, when Michael Jackson outbid him when they went up for sale. Jackson paid more than $47 million for ATV, the company that had owned copyrights to Beatles songs since 1967. A decade later, Jackson sold half of his share to Sony for $100 million. Following Jackson’s death in 2009, his estate sold the remaining shares to Sony for $750 million in 2016. McCartney has been wrangling to get them back since then.

According to the Copyright Act, songs written before 1978, like the entire Beatles catalog, revert back to the composers after 56 years. McCartney’s songs, written with John Lennon, would therefore start becoming available in 2018, and continue reverting annually through the anniversary of the Beatles’ dissolution in 2025.

While it looks like McCartney will once again take ownership of his songs sometime next year, the order states that the New York federal court will “enforce the terms of the parties’ Settlement Agreement, should a dispute arise.”

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