George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko, who is executrix of John Lennon's will, are asking a High Court judge to ban sales of a CD produced from the recording made at The Star Club in 1962. They also want the original tape, or proof that it has been destroyed.
It was made by Edward Taylor, leader of obscure Sixties band King Size Taylor and the Dominoes, when he was playing a double bill with the Beatles. The Beatles were making their last trip to the German club - fulfilling their contract after they had already signed with EMI Records and were enjoying their first hit, "Love Me Do", which reached No 17 in the charts that December.
Mark Platts Mills QC, representing the Beatles, told Mr Justice Neuberger that there had been "various attempts to exploit" the tape by people associated with the defendants, Lingasong Music, of Waltham Abbey, Essex. Lingasong claims that Lennon, who was shot dead in 1980, gave his verbal consent to the recording.
Mr Platts Mills said the only people allowed to make recordings of the Beatles at that time was EMI under the terms of a contract signed by their manager, the late Brian Epstein.
An album of the Beatles' songs from the recording was released in 1977 on the Polydor label. Injunctions to stop it were refused by the High Court. Yesterday's action is being made under the new 1989 Copyright Act which gives more protection to artists and writers.