Paul McCartney to claim half the American rights to Beatles tracks from 2018

Copyright law in the States will allow McCartney to claim ownership after 56 years pass

Paul McCartney has initiated legal proceedings that will allow him to claim the ownership of parts of The Beatles catalogue in the US, three decades after the rights to the tracks were sold to the late Michael Jackson.

Parts of Lennon and McCartney’s catalogue will qualify for the claiming of ownership by the original songwriters in January of 2018, and while Yoko Ono has long since done a deal with Sony that gives the company ownership of Lennon’s half of the song rights, McCartney has set the process for reclaiming his share into motion.

Billboard revealed last week that McCartney got the process for reclaiming the rights underway in December.


The American publication explains “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 catalogue begins hitting the 56-year mark in 2018.”

McCartney is using the law to reclaim the rights to his share of 32 songs in the US, though the laws won’t apply to his share of the rights in other parts of the world. The first of the ‘reclaim by songwriter’ reversion of rights will apply from January 2018. For many of the other tracks McCartney is claiming his share of the rights will not be eligible for the claim until 2025. Legal progress is taking place now as artists can make the claim between two and ten years ahead of the 56-year limit.


It’s widely accepted that several of the songs McCartney is claiming half the rights for are Lennon solo compositions, but as Beatles songs are all credited to both Lennon and McCartney, Sir Paul is still eligible to claim his half.

Tracks subject to the claim include large parts of the Abbey Road album as well as some tracks from albums released between 1962 and 1964.

McCartney has also recently announced his first ‘One on One’ tour dates, following the death of the ‘fifth Beatle’ George Martin.

The dates – all in America announced so far are as follows:

04-13 Fresno, CA – SaveMart Arena
04-15 Portland, OR – Moda Center
04-17 Seattle, WA – Key Arena
04-19-20 Vancouver, British Columbia – Rogers Arena
04-30 Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
05-02 Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premier Center