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Beatles sue EMI-Capitol for $40 million

NEW YORK -- The Beatles have gotten back together again to file a $40 million lawsuit EMI-Capitol Records for allegedly cheating them out of royalties from compact disc sales.

The company, which distributes the Beatles' records, Friday declined to comment on the suit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

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'They were totally cheated out of compensation,' said Leonard Marks, a lawyer representing the Beatles.

The Beatles' Apple Corp. and George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, were listed as plaintiffs.

Paul McCartney is not officially named but he figures in the suit as a 25 percent owner of Apple.

Marks said McCartney 'doesn't like to join in litigation as an indivdual.'

'He's not crazy about depositions,' the attorney said.

The suit, filed Thursday, charges that EMI-Capitol illegally took 25 percent from the Beatles compact disc royalties and disguised it as a 'packaging charge' and used an 'artificially low' accounting method.

The Beatles also charged EMI-Capitol with unfairly withholding the release of their compact discs in a bid to force the group to settle another lawsuit.

The suit alleges the record company released the hit records of other stars in 1984 -- such as Tina Turner and David Bowie -- but withheld Beatles compact discs until earlier this year, causing the group to lose millions of dollars.

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The Beatles already have a $50 million breach-of-contract suit alleging they were cheated out of royalties by Capitol between 1969 and 1979.

The latest suit asks $20 in out-of-pocket damages and $20 million in punitive damages.

The Beatles also want the master recordings back. 'These people can't be trusted,' Marks said.

Eight Beatles albums have been released on compact disc, and between 2 million and 3 million have been sold in North America, Marks said.

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