Former Beatle Paul McCartney sued Sony's music publishing arm on Wednesday in federal court in New York, seeking to reclaim copyrights to 267 Beatles songs that pop star Michael Jackson acquired two decades before his death.
Jackson famously outbid McCartney for publishing rights to the songs in 1985, paying $47.5 million to obtain the collection as part of a much larger trove of some 4,000 pop music tunes from Australian businessman Robert Holmes a Court.
The Beatles songs and rest of the ATV collection were then rolled into a joint venture Jackson formed in 1995 with his Sony-based label, creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which grew into the world's biggest song publisher.
His estate sold off its stake in Sony/ATV, including the Beatles collection, to Sony for $750,000 in 2016, seven years after Jackson's fatal 2009 drug overdose from the powerful anesthetic propfol.
According to his lawsuit, McCartney put Sony/ATV Music Publishing on notice as early as October 2008 that he wished to reclaim rights to the dozens of songs he co-wrote with the late fellow ex-Beatle John Lennon from September 1962 to June 1971. Those songs form the bulk of the Beatles catalog.