Beatles’ Song Copyright

According to the headline of an article in Wired, “Jackson’s Death Puts Lucrative Beatles Copyrights in Play.” Part of the tangle that is the estate of Michael Jackson is 50% ownership of the copyright to the songs composed by the Beatles. Jackson beat out McCartney in a 1985 auction of the rights (for a mere $47 million) and sold half ownership to Sony. Jackson’s half was subsequently given as collateral for one of the loans he obtained.

Of course, it will take some time to sort out who owns and who owes what. One imagines lawyers will be involved. But if the rumoured will in which Michael bequeathed his rights to Sir Paul actually exists… and if insolvency doesn’t inhale all of Jackson’s interests… things may come up roses for Macca… if he outlives the lawsuits.

So if you want to free Jude, go out and buy lots of Jackson and Beatles disks. It might be as simple as that. Eventually.


  1. Michael Jackson bought a catalogue of music which contained the beetles catalog as well as the ATV catalogue later on. He then merged his catalogue with Sony to create the Sony/ATV catalogue. MJ and sony owned the catalogue 50/50. The entire Sony/ATV catalogue has an estimated worth of $2.5billion.

    In order for Sir.Paul to get the Beetles music Sony would have to agree to give up their 50% of the Beetles music so that Paul could have total rights or they would sell him 50% of his catalogue and Sir.Paul does not have $100-$500million dollars to give to Sony. Even if he had that kind of cash around something tells me Sony is not going to give up that kind of profit. I don’t think he’ll ever get his music back.