In the early ’80s, Paul McCartney shared with Michael Jackson about the musical publishing industry and value therein. It wasn’t long before he regretted it.
The two had become friends and collaborated on the song “The Girl Is Mine” from Michael’s Thriller album in 1983, as well as “Say Say Say” and “The Man,” which were featured on McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album, also in 1983.
However, in 1985, Jackson learned that ATV Music was the publisher of The Beatles’ Lennon-McCartney song library (as well as many others) and was available to purchase for $47.5 million, he didn’t hesitate to buy them out. Not surprisingly, McCartney wanted the songs himself and had attempted to purchase them in 1969 from the original publisher, Northern Songs, but lost out to ATV. When McCartney learned that Jackson had scooped up his own material, he no longer had a friendship with Jackson.
Last week, The Inquisitr reported that Sony was all set to purchase the remaining 50 percent of the Sony/ATV estate of Michael Jackson for $750 million. Sony/ATV is the holder of about three million songs which not only include music from The Beatles, but also from John Lennon, David Bowie, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, and many others. Jackson’s children would be the recipients of the money that comes from the purchase.
McCartney is hoping to reclaim his music and has begun the process of filing the termination notice for 32 songs with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Today, in an article published on MSN, they stated that “The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 gave songwriters the ability to recapture the publishers’ share of their songs, and in the case of titles written before 1978, writers can recapture songs after two consecutive 28-year terms, or 56 years. (That legislation allows for writers of songs issued in or after 1978 to recapture their publishing after 35 years.) The Lennon-McCartney catalog begins hitting the 56-year mark in 2018.”
“In order to reclaim publishing ownership of a song, a songwriter must file with the U.S. Copyright Office, terminating the publishing anywhere from 2 to 10 years before the 56 years elapse, in order to obtain ownership of that song’s publishing in a timely manner. (If the writer doesn’t put in a notice within that window, they have another five-year period to reclaim the copyrights but each day’s delay adds another day that the publisher owns the copyright.)”
MSN also reported that McCartney filed termination notices for his own songs that appeared on Beatles records from 1962 to 1964, but many of the songs filed have termination notices with much later dates. The songs include “Come Together,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” and seven other songs on the Abbey Road album, as well as the single tracks “Don’t Let Me Down” and “The Ballad of John & Yoko.”
Even though many of the song titles are believed to have been written solely by John Lennon, McCartney and Lennon shared the credit for most of the Beatles music.
“Only the McCartney half of the Lennon/McCartney songs are eligible for termination, and only for the U.S.,” an insider explained to Billboard, adding, “Sony/ATV still owns [those] Beatles songs in the rest of the world.”
Lennon died in 1980, so the publisher’s portion of his share of the Lennon-McCartney catalog for the songs written in 1962 was eligible for revision in 1990. This is because Lennon had died within the first 28-year copyright term. However, it is also believed that in 2009 Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, was able to retain the publisher’s share for the life of the copyright, which would last about 70 years after the author’s death.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]