Paul McCartney launches bid to reclaim Beatles back catalogue

He plans to take back his publishing rights

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Paul McCartney has filed a claim with the American Copyright Office to take back his publishing rights to The Beatles’ catalogue when they start becoming available in 2018.

The publishing is currently owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, but American law allows living artists to apply to take back the right 56 years after initial publication, meaning the Lennon-McCartney catalogue becomes available in 2018.

According to Billboard, on December 15, 2015, McCartney filed a termination notice of 32 songs with the US Copyright Office.


The BBC reports that most of the songs date from 1962 – 1964, although others come from much later in the band’s career. Some of those, including “Come Together” and “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”, are not due to become available until 2025.

John Lennon’s half of the publishing will remain with Sony/ATV which reportedly made a deal with Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.

McCartney never owned many of the songs he produced. During The Beatles, ownership of the songs went straight to Northern Songs – a company founded by the band’s manager Brian Epstein.

After Epstein’s death in 1967, the company was sold to ATV Music.

ATV was consequently bought by Michael Jackson for $47.5 million in 1985.

In 1995, Jackson sold half of his share in ATV Music to Sony, who purchased the remainder of Jackson’s stake earlier this month.


The May 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our cover story on PJ Harvey’s new album, Brian Wilson, The National’s all-star Grateful Dead tribute, Jack White and T Bone Burnett’s American Epic, Cate Le Bon, Donovan, Jean-Michel Jarre, Cheap Trick, Graham Nash, Heartworn Highways, Sturgill Simpson and more plus 40 pages of reviews and our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.


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