Beatles, Apple Corps free to sue EMI, Capitol in royalties suit
The Beatles have been cleared to pursue their lawsuit against EMI Group and its affiliate Capitol Records.
In a ruling made Aug. 23 but released this week, New York State Supreme Court Justice Karla Moskowitz denied EMI's request that the fraud and breach of contract suit be thrown out.
In December, Apple Corps — the group representing surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as the families of George Harrison and John Lennon — launched legal action in the High Court in London against EMI Group and in the Supreme Court in New York against EMI subsidiary Capitol Records.
The Beatles group claimed that the two record companies used fraudulent schemes to withhold millions of dollars in royalty payments and breached the band's contract.
The suit alleges that EMI and Capitol underreported some sales during the late 1990s and also classified copies of Beatles recordings as destroyed or damaged, but then went ahead and sold them.
In addition to seeking more than $25 million US in damages, Apple Corps is seeking the rights to the iconic Liverpool band's master recordings.
EMI currently owns the copyright, in perpetuity, to recordings made by the Beatles.
The two sides have previously clashed over the issue of royalties. The ongoing dispute dates back to 1979, when the band alleged it had been underpaid by more than $20 million US. The case was eventually settled out of court in 1989, with Apple winning an increase in royalties.