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Sony Says Paul McCartney Lawsuit Over Beatles Songs Is Unripe

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

In new court papers, the song publishing giant says the former Beatle is "clearly forum-shopping."

Paul McCartney waited decades for his opportunity to reclaim rights to songs he authored as a member of The Beatles. Now, Sony/ATV Music Publishing is telling a judge he should have to cool his heels a little longer.

McCartney made his move in January, suing to confirm that under the termination provisions of U.S. copyright law, he gets to recapture his share. The lawsuit in New York federal court followed a stunning U.K. decision, Gloucester Place Music Ltd v. Le Bon, where it was ruled late last year in a dispute involving Duran Duran songs that American termination law took a backseat to an interpretation of contracts under English law.

"As an initial matter, SATV has made no statement challenging the validity of Plaintiff’s termination notices," states Sony in a letter to the judge on Monday in anticipation of a conference that will lay out its forthcoming motion to dismiss. "Indeed, it has acknowledged they are valid, so there is no controversy regarding this issue. Nor has SATV claimed that Plaintiff’s service of the notices breached any agreement and SATV may never make such a claim. The complaint thus impermissibly seeks an advisory opinion on a hypothetical claim that depends on both the outcome of Gloucester and contingent future actions that may never occur." That makes McCartney's lawsuit "unripe," according to Sony's counsel Donald Zakarin.

By: Eriq Gardner

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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