Does Michael Jackson still own the rights to songs by The Beatles?

Michael Jackson purchased the publishing copyrights to songs written by Lennon-McCartney and some early songs by George Harrison.

This was something which, according to one biography of the Thriller singer, Michael had joked about with Sir Paul McCartney at dinner.

However, things became real when the catalogue of songs from ATV Music became available to purchase, and both Sir Paul and Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, decided against purchasing them.

Michael bought the rights to these songs, as well as some early George Harrison songs, for $47.5million (£36.7million) in 1985.

The catalogue came up for sale in 1984, and there were various bids for the publishing company.

However, Michael’s bid was successful, starting with $46million (£35.5million.)

As the deal continued to progress, other competitors continued to offer larger amounts, and eventually Michael increased his bid to the final amount, with the deal being completed in October 1985.

While he purchased a huge number of songs, he was not able to purchase the rights to Penny Lane, which the ATV Music owner of the time Robert Holmes à Court gifted to his daughter.

In 1995, Sony acquired 50 percent of the catalogue from Michael, with the company being renamed Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

As time went on, Sony continued to purchase more and more songs from Michael’s part of the company, and by 2006 Sony had operational control of the catalogues.

Michael’s own songs, however, were not held by the same company, meaning Sony were not purchasing Michael’s own songs.

The company acquired EMI Publishing, which included Mijac Music, the company which owned the rights to Michael’s songs.

“But I did talk to him [Michael Jackson] about it. But he kind of blanked me on it. He kept saying, ‘That’s just business Paul.’

“You know. So, ‘yeah it is’, and waited for a reply. But we never kind of got to it…

“So we kind of drifted apart. It was no big bust up. We kind of drifted apart after that.

“But he was a lovely man, massively talented, and we miss him.”

Source: express.co.uk

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