According to the rock legend's rep, McCartney filed a lawsuit in New York on Wednesday "to confirm his ownership in his U.S. reversionary copyrights, which are granted to him by U.S. copyright law, in the songs he wrote with John Lennon and recorded with The Beatles."
Under copyright law, creators who sold copyrights before 1976 have a right to reclaim them at a certain point.
The lawsuit claims that McCartney has been serving notices of his intention to reclaim them to the current owners of the copyrights since 2008, and is expecting to have these copyrights returned to him beginning in October 5, 2018.
The suit -- which asks the court to affirm that these notices are valid and proper under the law -- seems to be an attempt to protect the former Beatle from a legal strategy the publishing company used in U.K. courts in December to hold off an attempt by Duran Duran to reclaim its publishing.
In response to the lawsuit, Sony/ATV has issued a statement maintaining that it "has the highest respect for Sir Paul McCartney with whom we have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with respect to the treasured Lennon & McCartney song catalog," while adding, "We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature."
Last year, Sony/ATV, which was established as a joint venture between Sony and Michael Jackson in 1995, bought late the King of Pop's share of the company for $750 million.