Copyright reversion, or the return of master recordings and publishing to the creators when copyrights 'run out', is an issue that is finally reverberating throughout the music industry. In perhaps the most high profile music reversion to date, Paul McCartney and Sony/ATV reached a settlement over the ownership of many of The Beatles' songs.
Paul McCartney and Sony/ATV have reached a settlement over the ownership of The Beatles song rights, avoiding a legal decision by a U.S. court in the case. According to the Guardian, Michael Jacobs, a lawyer for McCartney, informed a judge that the two sides “have resolved this matter by entering into a confidential settlement agreement”.
McCartney took Sony/ATV to court in January, seeking to reclaim copyright ownership over the band's iconic catalog using a reversion right provision established by the Copyright Act of 1976.
Under the terms of the act, songwriters could reclaim copyright their catalog from music publishers after a 35-year term – or 56 years for songs from before 1978.
While US law generally takes precedent in the entertainment industry, a British court's ruling in December changed that dynamic after it refused to grant rights to 80s group Duran Duran, claiming that the law did not apply in England.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the details of the agreement were not disclosed, but the order stipulates that the federal court in New York will enforce the terms of the parties’ Settlement Agreement, should a dispute arise."
Attorneys for both parties declined further comment on the settlement.