|Still from the Shea Stadium film|
According to a news item from Reuters, Apple Corps Ltd was accused in a lawsuit on Monday of infringing copyrights of a company claiming to own a master recording of the group's 1965 concert in New York's Shea Stadium. Sid Bernstein Presents LLC sued before this week's scheduled release in theaters and on Hulu of "Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years," which is supported in cinemas by a reedited, remastered and remixed version of the 1966 TV-film "The Beatles at Shea Stadium", an edit which focuses on just the Beatles concert itself. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Here's a link to the Reuters report.
To us, it looks like the heirs of Sid Bernstein are looking to try and make some bucks off the Shea Stadium film. It was Subafilms (The Beatles' and Brian Epstein's company) with Ed Sullivan Productions who filmed the concert, and I'm sure their paperwork is in order. The Beatles at Shea Stadium was televised in 1966 in the U.K. and in 1967 in U.S.A. Since then, it has been reprised and shown in other countries as well. It was last televised in the U.K. by BBC in 1979.
Bernstein himself was a popular man among Beatles fans, and he used to attend Beatles conventions. He seemed to be proud of the concerts he helped arrange, and never sought any legal action, as far as we know. Sid Bernstein died in 2013. The plaintiff, Sid Bernstein Presents LLC claims to have been assigned Bernstein's rights, and in their statement they say that Brian Epstein took custody of the so-called "Master Tapes" and began using them without seeking consent.
The company Sid Bernstein Presents LLC said it sued after the U.S. Copyright Office refused to register its copyright claim, and after learning that Apple planned to release a remastered version of the Beatles' performance with the "Eight Days a Week" documentary.
As far as this blog knows, the re-edited Shea Stadium concert film is only to be used in cinemas, it will not be screened as part of the Hulu deal, and there are no plans of issuing the film as bonus material when "Eight Days A Week The Touring Years" is being released on home video in November. We hope that it isn't legal obstacles who is in the way of releasing the Shea Stadium film for a wider audience, but rather that Apple Corps Ltd aren't interested in sharing profits of the film with the other production companies involved with Howard's film.
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