Beatles to sue record companies

31-08-2006

The surviving members of the Beatles have been given the go-ahead to sue EMI and Capitol Records over claims that the record companies "pocket millions of dollars" due to the band in music royalties.

Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are planning to claim at least £13.2 million in damages in a case they are fighting alongside relatives of the late George Harrison and John Lennon and the Beatles' company, Apple Corps.

As well as seeking damages for alleged fraud and breach of contract, the group also wants to reclaim rights to all the Liverpool band's master recordings.

A request by EMI that the claim be thrown out was last week denied by a New York state supreme court judge.

The lawsuit, filed in December, claims that EMI and its affiliate Capitol falsely classified certain Beatles recordings as destroyed or damaged "scrap", but then secretly sold them.

The suit also claims that the number of units sold was under-reported and that the music companies classified some recordings as "promotional", knowing that they would not be subject to royalties when selling them on.

It is claimed that the allegedly fraudulent behaviour was uncovered by an audit of EMI and Capitol accounts for the period 1994 to 1999.

Commenting, Beatles lawyer Paul LiCalsi told Bloomberg that the court's decision to let the band's representatives go ahead with the lawsuit against EMI and Capitol represented a "great win" for his clients.

The Beatles' dispute with EMI and Capitol dates back to 1979, when the band alleged that the record companies had underpaid them by over £10.5 million.

That case was settled in 1989, when the Beatles and Apple were granted increased royalty rates as a result.


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