McCartney gets Beatles song rights back

LONDON • It has been a Long And Winding Road for Paul McCartney to regain ownership of songs he penned for The Beatles, but he has finally reached his goal.

He and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have reached an agreement over copyright ownership, reported the Hollywood Reporter.

Under United States law, the 75-year-old was actually set to reacquire the songs in October next year, but Sony had dragged its feet over the matter, with McCartney fearing a legal dispute.

The 1976 Copyright Act states that the rights to works made before 1978 must be returned to their creators 56 years after the date of the original copyright.

McCartney's fans will be pleased over the settlement, given that celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's iconic Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in May had been soured over knowledge that he did not stand to benefit much from the new sales.

Back in 1963, The Beatles manager Brian Epstein had formed a company to manage the song rights, with the Fab Four owning a minor percentage, reported the Inquisitr website. In 1969, another company gained control of the catalogue.

In 1985, Michael Jackson bought a large portion of the rights, gaining control of about 250 songs written by McCartney and John Lennon. Sony bought half the catalogue from his estate in 1995 and the rest last year.

McCartney is not in need of money, topping Forbes' Richest Musicians list last year with his worth estimated at £730 million (S$1.3 billion).

In an interview with Mojo magazine to mark Sgt Pepper's milestone, he revealed how the title came about. "I was on a plane journey with Mal Evans (The Beatles' road manager) and he said, 'Pass the salt and pepper.' I thought I heard him say, 'Sergeant Pepper'."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'McCartney gets Beatles song rights back'. Print Edition | Subscribe