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EMI Likely To Appeal Ruling In Beatles Suit

EMI Group PLC, said today (Aug. 31) it is likely to appeal a ruling yesterday in a New York court allowing the Beatles to proceed with litigation against the music company.

EMI Group PLC, said today (Aug. 31) it is likely to appeal a ruling yesterday in a New York court allowing the Beatles to proceed with litigation against the music company.

A spokesperson said the London-based record company would "likely" appeal against proceedings in the United States, which are running parallel to separate litigation in Britain.

The surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, the estate of the late George Harrison and the Beatles' company Apple Corps, were cleared to proceed with the U.S. arm of the litigation by a judge at the New York State Supreme Court.

The Beatles are suing for damages and lost royalties of 30 million pounds ($57 million) in total, and seeking to reclaim rights to all the band's master recordings, according to the Beatles' British lawyer.

In December 2005, the Beatles sued EMI and Capitol Records in North America to reclaim unpaid U.S. royalties, and EMI in London to reclaim royalties for the rest of the world.

A key part of the suit is a claim for damages relating to CDs and records which EMI claims were "scrapped", but the group is pursuing EMI for unpaid royalties relating to the products, which it believes were either sold or given away, Nicholas Valner, the Beatles' lawyer, said. The U.S. claims amount to approximately 20 million pounds ($38 million), Valner said.

He said the Beatles were also seeking the return of master recordings, on the grounds that EMI and Capitol "can't be trusted with the masters any more and they should be returned to The Beatles".

"Artists from time to time seek audits on their accounts," an EMI spokesperson said. "We are not unhappy with that and are happy to have full financial transparency. There are sometimes differences of opinion, especially when contracts are so complex and there may be issues of contractual interpretation. In these situations the parties may resort to the courts or mediation."

The Beatles and EMI were locked in a decade-long legal dispute during the 1980s after the group's surviving members accused the company of improper accounting. The case was resolved in 1989.


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