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Surviving Beatles to sue over royalty claim

THE surviving members of the Beatles are to sue music companies EMI and Capitol Records.

They claim the record companies used fraudulent schemes to “pocket millions of dollars” due to the band.

Sir Paul McCa

rtney, Ringo Starr and relations of George Harrison and John Lennon want at least US$25 million in damages.

Last week a judge New York State Supreme Court denied EMI’s request for the claim to be thrown out.

The group also seek to reclaim rights to all the Liverpool band’s master recordings.

The lawsuit, filed in December, claims EMI and its affiliate Capitol wrongly classified copies of Beatles recordings as destroyed or damaged “scrap” but then secretly sold them.

It also alleges the number of units sold was under-reported, and the firms classified some recordings as “promotional” and as a result non-royalty bearing, but then sold the material.

The lawsuit was triggered by an audit of the companies’ books from the period 1994 to 1999, which the band says uncovered allegedly deceitful behaviour.

The dispute between The Beatles and EMI and Capitol dates back to 1979, when the band alleged they had been underpaid by more than US$20 million .

That case was settled 10 years later, with the band and Apple getting increased royalty rates.

EMI and Capitol had argued in the current case that there was not enough detail of the circumstances of the allegations or state a cause of action. They said during court papers that the fraud claim was an attempt to “dress up a contract claim”.

The Beatles’ lawyer, Paul LiCalsi, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to pursue this claim for the return of the Beatles’ master recordings.” — BBC News.

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