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The Beatles’ company is being sued over footage of the band at Shea Stadium

The Beatles at Shea Stadium (Photo: Getty Images, Michael Ochs Archives)

Ron Howard’s Beatles documentary Eight Days A Week is set to be shown in select theaters this weekend before arriving on Hulu, and those who attend these screenings will be treated to 30 minutes of rare bonus footage depicting the Beatles’ famous 1965 Shea Stadium performance. However, the estate of a man named Sid Bernstein has now filed a lawsuit against the Beatles’ Apple Corps arguing that Bernstein—who died in 2013—should own a significant chunk of the rights to that footage. This comes from Billboard, which says Bernstein’s family isn’t asking for an injunction that will prevent the Shea Stadium concert from being shown in theaters, but the family is trying to get Sid Bernstein to be named either the sole owner of the footage or a co-owner along with the Beatles.

The genesis of this whole thing is that Bernstein was a producer and promoter who specifically hired the Beatles for this 1965 Shea Stadium show, so the family argues that it couldn’t have happened without him. Because of that, they believe he—or they—should retain the rights to the master tapes of the performance. The suit is also asking for previous attempts by Bernstein’s company to control the copyright be made valid, which would allow them to declare that previous uses of the footage constituted copyright infringement.


It’s tough to say how this will all shake out, but it’s certainly interesting to see the Beatles being sued over footage of the Beatles.

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