The Beatles' Apple Corps wins copyright-infringement lawsuit over 1965 Shea Stadium concert footage

The rights to their 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York was in question.

ByABC News
July 27, 2017, 4:52 PM

— -- The Beatles' holding company has emerged victorious in a lawsuit launched last year by a company founded by Sid Bernstein, the late promoter of the band's famous August 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, over ownership of footage from that show, ABC News has confirmed.

Sid Bernstein Presents, claimed Bernstein -- who died in 2013 at age 95 -- was the producer of the original 1966 film that featured the footage, and that Apple Corps Ltd., the band’s holding company, had infringed on its copyright when it allowed it to be used in the 2016 documentary "Eight Days a Week -- The Touring Years."

Apple Corps manages the rights to the Beatles’ work and is controlled by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison.

A New York judge dismissed the suit on Wednesday, saying that no matter how much the late Bernstein may have been responsible for the concert taking place, the company has no claim to the master tapes.

The judge said the contract signed in 1965 “reserves no rights whatsoever for Bernstein in any filming or recording of the concert.”

In its original motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, lawyers for Apple Corps and Subafilms Limited -- the company that was granted a copyright on the footage in 1988 -- claimed Bernstein had no creative control over, nor input into, the filming of the show or the production of the 1966 movie, "The Beatles at Shea Stadium."

In addition, a legal memo filed with the court says the contract between Bernstein and Apple Corps' predecessor company, Nems Enterprises, granted Nems the sole right to film the show and to any receipts from the movie.

Bernstein's company had argued that, "[w]ithout Sid, the mastermind of the event, this film would never have been made."

The judge refuted the company's claims on multiple grounds, including a preexisting contract with Nems Enterprises, as well as statute of limitations issues.

An attorney for Sid Bernstein Presents said he believes there may be grounds for an appeal, but the company has not announced any further legal action at this time.