LONDON: Apple Records, the legacy of the Beatles group, is suing record company EMI Group for 30 million pounds in unpaid royalties. Apple Records, owned by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the successors of John Lennon and George Harrison, said a recent audit had found that EMI, which owns the copyright of all Beatles music recordings for life, has not fulfilled the terms of a contract.
The two entities were engaged in court cases over royalties previously. In the present case, Apple Records said EMI continued to persist in ignoring its obligations and duty to account fairly and with transparency. “Apple and The Beatles are, once again, left with no choice but to sue EMI.”
Apple Records filed suits Thursday in the High Court of London against EMI and in the Supreme Court in New York against EMI subsidiary Capitol Records.
Apple Records said it had to resort to legal action as negotiations did not succeed. It is seeking payment of royalties for the band’s entire output, dating back to 1962, when the music group signed for EMI’s Parlophone label.
An EMI spokesperson said artists do sometimes request an audit of their record label’s accounts. Sometimes there are differences of opinion, especially when the contracts are large and complex. “Ninety-nine out of 100 audit problems are resolved by amicable settlements for a small fraction of the claim,” she said.
The Beatles had formed Apple Records in 1968 and had signed a deal with EMI for distribution. The relationship between the two had never been cordial. Apple Records had alleged that EMI secretly sold or gave away millions of records to retailers. In a recent case in 1991, Apple Records raised a dispute over the release of the Beatles’ red and blue albums on CD. A High Court judge ruled in favour of the band’s contention that it maintained artistic control over its output.