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Beatles Sue EMI for Millions

Fab Four's Apple Records again battling with record giant over royalties

December 16, 2005 12:00 AM ET

The Beatles -- Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison -- are suing EMI Group, claiming that they are owed more than $53 million in royalties. The Beatles' Apple Records announced today that an audit proved that EMI, which owns the copyright to the Beatles recordings, was not fulfilling its contract.

"Despite very clear provisions in our contract, EMI persists in ignoring their obligations and duty to account fairly and with transparency," Apple Records said in a statement. "Apple and the Beatles are once again left with no choice but to sue EMI." Lawsuits were filed against EMI in London and its Capitol Records subsidiary in New York on Thursday.

Apple and EMI previously battled for ten years over contract disputes, ending in an out-of-court settlement in 1989. The Beatles had claimed that EMI sold or gave away millions of records without their knowledge.

Last year, Apple Records dragged Apple Computers into court over the launch of the iTunes online music store, claiming that the use of the Apple trademark for music-related business violated a 1991 agreement.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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