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Paul McCartney sues Sony/ATV over Beatles' songs rights

Singer/songwriter Paul McCartney sued Sony Corp.'s Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC and Sony/ATV Tunes LLC to regain rights to songs created during his time with The Beatles.

The copyright ownership lawsuit, which was filed in New York on Jan. 18, states that the music publishing companies claim to be successors to publishers who acquired copyright interests in various McCartney's compositions in the 1960s and 1970s, and that under the 1976 Copyright Act, authors like McCartney who assigned or transferred their copyright interests to third parties before Jan. 1, 1978, have the "non-waivable right to terminate those transfers and reclaim their copyright interests."

The suit alleges that McCartney, starting October 2008, served them termination notices to reclaim his copyright interests in his compositions. The suit adds that despite receiving the termination notices the music publishing companies did not give any indication that they contested the efficacy of the said termination notices, thereby conceding that McCartney's termination notices are valid.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration that McCartney's exercise of his termination rights does not amount to a breach of any publishing agreements and that the publishing agreements are unlawful and/or unenforceable against McCartney to the extent that they conflict with his termination notices.