Paul McCartney is taking steps to reacquire his share of Lennon-McCartney catalog
A recent story reported on CNN Entertainment and found here describes how Paul McCartney of The Beatles is attempting to acquire his share of the McCartney-Lennon catalog from the estate of Michael Jackson. Although Paul McCartney is not directly involved in a dispute with the estate of the late great Michael Jackson, it appears that these latest developments originate in the 1980s.
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson were friends in the 1980s. According to some reports, Michael Jackson alerted Paul McCartney to the business value of music publishing. Around the same time ATV Music (at the time publisher of the Beatles’ Lennon-McCartney songs) became available for purchase. Michael Jackson purchased it for $47.5 million in 1985. Paul McCartney considered this move a betrayal of their friendship.
The latest development in this story is that Mr. McCartney is in the process of recapturing the publisher’s share of his songs. The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 permits songwriters to reacquire the publisher’s share of the songs written before 1978 after 56 years (two consecutive 28-year terms). As it currently stands, the 56 year term on the songs that comprise the coveted Lennon-McCartney catalog begins to lapse in 2018.
Reclaiming the publishing ownership of a song requires the songwriter to make the appropriate filings with the U.S. Copyright Office. The filings are typically done two to ten years ahead of the 56 year mark. Paul McCartney has already commenced the process. As the catalog contains songs written over many years, the filing deadlines for some songs extend all the way to 2025.
It is also important to note that the process Mr. McCartney has initiated applies only to his share of the Lennon-McCartney catalog, and only to the United States of America.
More on this story here.