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Paul McCartney launches motion to reclaim The Beatles' back catalogue

Paul McCartney has filed a claim in the US which could see him take on Sony to recapture the rights to The Beatles' back catalogue.

The musician is taking advantage of a US law which allows living artists to apply to take back control 56 years after initial publication, meaning he could get access to the Lennon-McCartney catalogue as soon as 2018.

Just last week, it was confirmed that Sony had agreed to buy Michael Jackson's 50 per cent share in Sony/ATV Music Publishing for $750m, thus claiming ownership to the rights of almost all of the Beatles catalog – which was purchased by Jackson for $47.5m in 1985.

The law only applies in the US, meaning that if McCartney's bid was successful other global distribution rights would still remain in the hands of Sony. An unnamed source told Billboard that McCartney would only regain publishing rights for his half of the compositions. Songs include 'Hey Jude, 'All You Need is Love' and 'Help'.

The Beatles lost control of their publishing early on in their history after a deal between Lennon, McCartney, manager Brian Epstein and publisher Dick James resulted in James selling his share to ATV in 1969. Both Lennon and McCartney tried and failed several times since to regain their rights.

McCartney is believed to have filed the claim in December last year.