NEW YORK -- Former Beatle George Harrison has to pay $587,000 in damages because his recording of 'My Sweet Lord' resembled the 1962 tune 'He's So Fine.'
In a ruling announced Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Owen said ABKCO Music, Harrison's former agent, could have recovered up to $1.5 million in damages for Harrison's 'subconscious' plagiarism.
Owen ruled in 1976 that Harrison's 1970 hit record, 'My Sweet Lord,' was so similar to the 1962 John Mack tune 'He's So Fine' that it constituted copyright infringement.
The plagiarism 'is no less so even if subconsciously accomplished,' Owen said.
Soon after the ruling, Bright Tunes Music Corporation, the original plaintiff, sold its rights to ABKCO, owned by Allen Klein and Harrison's agent in 1970.
In assessing damages, Owen found that ABKCO could have recovered up to $1.5 million in damages if it had not interfered in settlement talks with Bright Tunes.