Shea Stadium film in trouble?
Posted by Roger Stormo
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
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.
In other news, Ron Howard told British newspaper The Times that he was so taken with the subject he'd love to make another film about the history of the Fab Four. "I found this (making Eight Days A Week) to be so fascinating that I'd be very open to that," Howard said.
Facebook ad for the Q & A session.
Tomorrow Wednesday, Paul and Ringo are due to hold a Q&A session together with Ron Howard at Abbey Road Studios in London. The three are answering questions submitted by fans. A bit of posing on the zebra crossing wouldn't hurt!
Apple Corps is sued over Beatles' 1965 Shea Stadium film rights
By Jonathan Stempel
Mon Sep 12, 2016
Former Beatles' promoter Sid Bernstein stands with new stamps at a John Lennon World Postal Tribute in New York, New York, December 8, 1995. REUTERS/Mark Cardwell/File Photo
Apple Corps Ltd, the music company founded by members of The Beatles, was accused in a lawsuit on Monday of infringing copyrights of a company claiming to own a master recording of the group's famous 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," a Ron Howard-directed documentary about Beatles concerts from the dawn of Beatlemania through 1966.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Sid Bernstein, who died in 2013, was a promoter who helped bring the Beatles to the United States from their native Britain.
The complaint said he also helped stage the group's Aug. 15, 1965, performance at Shea, and arranged for TV variety show host Ed Sullivan's production company to film it.
But the plaintiff, which said it was assigned Bernstein's rights, said the group's manager, Brian Epstein, took custody of the "Master Tapes" and began using them without seeking consent.
It said the recording was later used in the 1966 movie "The Beatles at Shea Stadium," the 1995 documentary "The Beatles Anthology," and the 2010 documentary "The Last Play at Shea" about Billy Joel's concerts there two years earlier.
The plaintiff 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.
The faces of the four Beatles appear on the fabric of a shirt for sale in a shop in Liverpool northern England, March 2, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Its lawsuit seeks a variety of damages and a declaration that Bernstein was the "dominant, and hence sole, author of the copyrightable work embodied in the Master Tapes."
A lawyer for the plaintiff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is Sid Bernstein Presents LLC v Apple Corps Ltd et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-07084.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)