Paul McCartney and Sony/ATV have quietly settled on a landmark case over rights to songs he wrote with the Beatles.
The legendary singer, songwriter and bass player sued the music publishing giant in a U.S. District Court in New York earlier this year to regain his copyrights to songs in October 2018.
McCartney’s legal argument was based on the 1976 Copyright Act that states that the rights to works made before 1978 must be returned to their creators 56 years after the date of the original copyright. Though 2018 – specifically the date Oct. 5 — has yet to roll around, it’ll mark precisely 56 years since the Lennon-McCartney partnership began its songwriting masterclass in 1962.
According to the paperwork, McCartney had been making several such legal filings since 2008 and his choice to engage with the U.S. legal system was a shrewd one.
British pop-rock outfit Duran Duran tried and failed to reclaim U.S. rights to some of their songs through a tetchy battle waged last year in the U.K.’s High Court, an outcome said to have “outraged and saddened” the band.
So by launching proceedings in the U.S., McCartney and his reps had wagered that U.S. copyright law and its termination laws take precedence over contracts agreed on the other side of the Atlantic.