Paul McCartney has come to an out of court agreement with Sony over the control of the songs he wrote with John Lennon.
McCartney sued Sony in January asking the court for a declaration that he could soon reclaim his copyright ownership share to the iconic group’s catalog of songs. Because the Copyright Act of 1976 lengthened the term of copyright protection by 19 years, it created for owners of works who signed over their rights on or before Jan. 1, 1978 the non-waivable right to reclaim them after a certain period of time. The provision McCartney relied on here states specifically: “Termination of the grant may be effected at any time during a period of five years beginning at the end of fifty-six years from the date copyright was originally secured, or beginning on January 1, 1978, whichever is later.”
For Paul McCartney, the important date is October 5th 2018, the 56th anniversary of the release of the Beatles first single ‘Love Me Do’.
Yoko One made an agreement with Sony many years ago.
It’s interesting that many of the reports on this are saying that McCartney will be ‘regaining’ control of the songs. Actually, he’s never had control before. To start with, a music publishing company was set up called ‘Northern Songs’ with publisher Dick James. James had about 50% of the shares, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney about 20% each. Dick James sold his shares to Lew Grade of ATV, and in a fierce battle to get control of he songs, Apple (the Beatles company that is) lost out and ATV got full control. The songs were then sold on and sold again in the early 80s when Michael Jackson bought them from pretty much under Paul’s nose, when they were working together. Jackson then got into financial problems, and sold a portion of his shares to Sony, to being the company Sony/ATV. Jackson’s family have since sold all their shares to Sony.
For more on this, see http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7850068/paul-mccartney-sony-atv-settlement-beatles-rights