Beatles Concert Film Blocked From Release
After more than three years, Sony has won its case against the producers of a documentary built around the Beatles’ first U.S. concert. Yesterday (July 1), a British judge ruled that Ace Arts’ film The Beatles: The Lost Concert could not be shown because it violated Sony’s copyrights.
Ace Arts had planned to screen the film, which combines the group’s Feb. 11, 1964 35-minute concert at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C., with nearly 60 minutes of archival footage and interviews from such names as Chuck Berry, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, back in May 2012. However, Sony, along with Apple Corps, got an injunction preventing its release.
Ace Arts shot back with a lawsuit in 2013, saying, “At the eleventh hour, in mid-April 2012, Sony/ATV, at the insistence of, and in conspiracy with, Apple Corps, wrongfully interfered with the distribution contract by making false statements to exhibitors, theater owners and potential distributors concerning Ace’s legal right to exhibit the documentary, making unjustified threats of legal action and filing a baseless lawsuit in England."
But the judge felt otherwise, backing up Sony’s claim that they had the copyrights on eight of the 12 songs that comprised the concert, thereby putting The Beatles: The Lost Concert on ice.
The concert, played before a capacity crowd of 8,092 fans, took place only two days after their historic debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Footage from three of the songs, “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “She Loves You,” were included in the Maysles’ documentary, The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit.
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