Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 26/02/2004One advantage the music industry has always had over the IT world is that you get much juicier lawsuits (SCO's sterling efforts to redress the balance notwithstanding). There's a never-ending stream of famous and dysfunctional people throwing their vast wealth into fights with each other, their record labels, their drug dealers, hapless journalists, the hapless journalists' drug dealers, and anyone else who's dissed them.

Thursday 26/02/2004
One advantage the music industry has always had over the IT world is that you get much juicier lawsuits (SCO's sterling efforts to redress the balance notwithstanding). There's a never-ending stream of famous and dysfunctional people throwing their vast wealth into fights with each other, their record labels, their drug dealers, hapless journalists, the hapless journalists' drug dealers, and anyone else who's dissed them. The IT world tends to have men in suits battering on about subtle matters of intellectual property while the record biz has people like Prince appearing on telly with SLAVE written all over their tiny bods in ballpoint pen. And let's not even get started with Courtney Love.

But Apple, bless it, is sufficiently enamoured of showbiz litigation glitz that it keeps encouraging people on the other side to sue it. This week we've seen Enimen take the company to court over an advert that showed a young man singing along to one of the rapper's top tunes while listening to an iPod: the computer company had failed to ask permission for this, and as Marshall Mathers has never let his stuff be used in any advertising the fallout should be spectacular.

That's the new stuff. The old stuff is one of the longest running shows in the business - Apple versus Apple. When Apple (the computer company) started up, it didn't take long for Apple (the record label) to spot the similarities between their names and their logos - and as Apple (trl) had been around for a lot longer, it felt somewhat aggrieved. The case was finally settled in 1991, with Apple (tcc) coughing up a sum of money and agreeing not to do anything with music. Some perturbations in the Force occurred subsequently when Apple (tcc) products sprouted multimedia capabilities, but these were soon smoothed over.

iTunes, however, is a different kettle of drums. With a crash of cymbals, Apple (tcc) has turned itself into a major music distributor and dispenser of musical devices, and faster than you can select While My Lawyer Gently Weeps on your iPod Mini the blue meanies at Apple (trl) are back in court waving their papers and demanding that this heinous nonsense be sorted out forthwith.

What's so funny about peace, love and understanding, eh? I am immediately tempted to turn the whole thing into Apple: The Musical, with evil Steve pitted against peaceful Paul. I'd have to set up a holding company called Apple and Apple, of course, just for the joy of getting them both to sue me and kick off Apple and Apple versus Apple and Apple. It'd be par for the cores.

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