English singer and songwriter Sir Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing Wednesday in order to regain the rights to a list of Beatles songs he wrote or co-wrote with John Lennon.
Filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, McCartney is hoping to reclaim Beatles hits including “Love Me Do,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “All You Need Is Love” and more according to The New York Times.
The music legend is arguing that copyright termination, as part of the 1976 Copyright Act, should allow him to start reclaiming ownership of the songs by Oct. 5, 2018 starting with the rights to “Love Me Do.”
McCartney is asking the court to rule in favour of his terminating rights that are not in breach of any publishing agreements.
Sony/ATV came in possession of the songs after the company was formed in 1995 by Michael Jackson who paid $41.5 million to acquire the ATV catalogue which included many Beatles songs.
Jackson had outbid McCartney to seal the deal and Sony took full control of Sony/ATV after Jackson’s estate sold its 50% stake in the company for $750 million.
“We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit, which we believe is both unnecessary and premature,” Sony /ATV said in a statement about the lawsuit. They also said they have “the highest respect for Sir Paul McCartney.”
Notably, the suit references a U.K. court ruling last year in favour of a Sony/ATV subsidiary that had sued pop band Duran Duran for breach of contract when they attempted to reclaim the rights to their songs.