McCartney Times

The Beatles win copyright ownership tussle

The Beatles win copyright ownership tussle

The Beatles win copyright ownership tussle
August 01
13:29 2017

A music company founded by members of The Beatles has won a copyright ownership dispute centering on footage from a music concert.In September last year, The Beatles’ company Apple Corps was sued by Sid Bernstein Presents at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.Sid Bernstein Presents, which represents the interests of the late businessman of the same name, claimed that Apple Corps and its subsidiary Subafilms infringed his copyright in a 30-minute film recording of The Beatles’ concert at New York’s Shea Stadium in 1965.The lawsuit claimed that Bernstein had hired The Beatles and other performers to play at the Shea Stadium concert.Sid Bernstein Presents filed the claim just days before the release of “Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years relating to the Beatles”, a film of live performances which includes a 30-minute remastered production of the concert.Bernstein’s company had tried to register ownership of the original 1965 “Master Tapes”—the filming and recording of The Beatles’ performance at the stadium—in July last year at the US Copyright Office.But the application was rejected because, according to the office, it conflicted with a registration by Subafilms. Subafilms received a copyright registration in 1988 for a 1967 movie entitled “The Beatles at Shea Stadium”, which used footage from the “Master Tapes”. According to the Copyright Office, Sid Bernstein Presents didn’t have direct access to the master tapes and so had submitted photos from the 1967 movie. The office regarded the photos as infringing works.On Wednesday, July 26, District Judge George Daniels granted (pdf) Apple Corp’s motion to dismiss the case. Daniels said that the contract between Bernstein and The Beatles’ management company, which was made approximately four months before the Shea Stadium concert, “reserves no rights whatsoever for Bernstein in any filming or recording of the concert”. He added that Sid Bernstein Presents had tried to avoid the effect of the contract by arguing it related only to the live filming of the concert, and not the “Master Tapes”.“This reading of the … contract strains credulity and is totally inconsistent with the conduct of the relevant parties in the decades following,” said Daniels.He added: “By zeroing in on Bernstein’s contributions to the filming of the concert rather than his efforts as a producer and promoter of the event, it is obvious that he is not an ‘author’ of any fixed works.”Donald Curry, representative of Sid Bernstein Presents and founder of Curry Law Firm, said that there appears to be grounds for appeal.“A decision whether to appeal will be made in the next several weeks,” he said.

Source: The Beatles win copyright ownership tussle

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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