The Beatles in court (again) with Apple

The Beatles in court (again) with Apple

Summary: The Beatles record label, Apple Corps Ltd. was in court for the third time in as many decades with Apple Computer, Inc. this week.

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apple-corps-logo.jpgThe Beatles record label, Apple Corps Ltd. was in court for the third time in as many decades with Apple Computer, Inc. this week. The record label claims that the Cupertino, CA computer firm has breached an agreement dating back to 1991 preventing it from entering the music business. In the 1980's Apple Corps Ltd. took Apple to court over the use of their logo.

The Apple Corps Ltd corporate logo (pictured) is comprised of a whole granny smith-type green apple whereas the computer maker uses a flat 2D logo of an Apple with a bite out of it.

In this latest go-around Apple Corps Ltd. has asked the court to stop the computer firm from using their logo on the iTunes Music Store. Lord Grabiner QC representing Apple Computer said "Apple Computer has been able to persuade every major content provider to distribute through the iTunes Music Store, but Apple Computer has not been able to persuade Apple Corps in relation to the Beatles catalogue" and called the record label's case "inherent nonsense."

During the development of System 7, Apple Corps' legal team objected to one of its system sound effects as being too musical. According to Wikipedia "The creator of the new beeps for System 7 and the Macintosh Startup Sound, Jim Reekes... first quipped it should be named "Let It Beep", a pun on The Beatles' "Let It Be", but renamed it Sosumi, which is pronounced "so sue me.""

The case in ongoing.

Topics: Collaboration, Apple, CXO, Hardware, Mobility

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11 comments
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  • Apple Computer made an agreement,

    they should be forced to live by it.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Re: Apple Computer made an agreement

      If you bothered to check into the actual terms of the agreement,
      you would find that it is Apple Corps which is not living up to the
      terms. The actual text provides Apple Computer with access to
      virtually any area in the entertainment business which does not
      relate to the very specific segment which revolves around the [i]
      creation[i/] of music. Since Apple Computer and iTunes are in the
      distribution business not the creation business, there really is no
      contest here.
      Mike
      mike_ohanlon_z
      • Check your facts.

        If YOU checked the facts you would find that Apple Computer agreed, back in the 90's, not to DISTRIBUTE music. They signed the agreement and they need to stick to it.
        gardenjai
        • Read the fine print

          Actually they agreed not to distribute music on physical media using the Apple trademark. Since ITunes music is not distributed on physical media nor is the Apple trademark included with the music file, the only way Apple Computer could violate the agreement by distributing content of 3rd party music publishers would be if they distributed without permission works belonging to Apple Records. They would also be in violation of other parts of the agreement if they signed their own recording artists and distributed on physical media using the Apple Logo. It does not appear Apple Computer has done either of these things. The agreement in fact recognizes that Apple Computer products may play Apple Record content, here is a quote of the relevant clause:

          "The parties acknowledge that certain goods and services within the Apple Computer Field of Use are capable of delivering content within the Apple Corps Field of Use. In such case, even though Apple Corps shall have the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the Apple Corps Marks on or in connection with content within subsection 1.3(i) or (ii), Apple Computer shall have the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with goods or services within subsection 1.2 (such as software, hardware or broadcasting services) used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content provided it shall not use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with physical media delivering pre-recorded content within subsection 1.3(i) or (ii) (such as a compact disc of the Rolling Stones music)."
          mlst
        • Apple vs. Apple

          That's correct. Not to distribute MUSIC. However MP3 files are
          not, in the legal sense, music. They're data.

          Apple Computer's point, which has been accepted by the judge
          in the case, is that Apple Computer is a distributor of data files.
          They don't own them. They didn't create them. They negotiated
          the 'right' to distribute them.

          So it appears that Apple Corps has fallen back to making this
          case revolve around logos. The new question - Does Apple
          Computer's use of their corporate logo within iTunes infringe on
          Apple Corps corporate logo? Could a reasonable person confuse
          the two logos?

          IMHO - Considering that Apple Corps lost over $950,000 last
          year, you'd think that they would permit the Beatles library to be
          made available to iTunes and generate much needed income.
          [Remember the Beatles DON'T own their music, Michael Jackson
          and Sony do.]
          machelpdesk
          • However MP3 files are Data

            Dude - By that philosophy ? Cassette tapes, Vinyl, CD, etc strictly speaking all store 'data' and not music.
            IronCladChicken
          • Once Again

            Please DON"T blog things you know nothing about. All that was sold was PUBLISHING licensing. That is not all of the royalties of a song. They still own their writer's rights. Since you don't know what you are talking about, Why are you talking? If copyright laws and settlements are not upheld there will be no use for iTunes because there will be no more music.
            donbradley2
          • You should be more careful....

            Yapping about people who blog about what they don?t know is a hazardous business and often draws attention. Lets have a look at your reckless last statement.
            ?If copyright laws and settlements are not upheld there will be no use for iTunes because there will be no more music?.
            First off, its just so plainly incorrect its patently absurd. It is so incorrect; I know that you even know that yourself, and it leaves me wondering what ever inspired you to make a claim that is such a barefaced misstatement.
            Music was around long before copyright laws, and if copyright laws were wiped off the books yesterday music would still get made, and sold today, tomorrow and for the long foreseeable future. This isn?t speculation, its existing fact as there are many musicians both selling their music and giving it away as well without even trying to enforce copyright laws. If you do not like that, then fine, just tell us how much you hate the fact music doesn?t require copyright to exist, just do not try to imply it cannot exist without copyright because that as just about as wrong as any statement that?s ever been made has ever been.
            Mind you, it is an absolute pile of crap falling back on the notion that an mp3 is just data and not music. Hell, music isn?t music if your hearing is gone because you don?t have the human hardware left to process the information. I?m afraid that coding anything into a different data form then its original form doesn?t defeat copyright laws, if the information can be read and intelligibly converted back to its original copyrighted form the copied data will breach copyright laws if its not properly licensed, so the ?Its not music, its just a data file? argument fails pretty much before it starts.
            And as far as Apple computers and iTunes goes, I have never seen such a bold play to invade and conquer a realm of modern media and technology since Microsoft monopolized the desktop OS market.. The thing is, we had all better wake up quickly. Microsoft caught us by surprise because we were all computer and internet ignorant back in 1995 and Windows 95 was one great product. Music, and even digital music has been around a very long time, and unless we want to see things head down the ?monopoly road? with iTunes the way it has with Windows, what starts out as one great product can all to quickly turn into ?the so so monopoly? if you just blindly by into their platform restrictive nonsense.
            Cayble
  • Apple vs. Apple

    If Paul McCartney had signed up with Itunes, he could have possibly
    negotiated a deal where a penny of two from each Beatles down
    load would have gone to his and his wife's foundation to eliminate
    land mines in the world. That could have amounted to many
    millions of dollars to help their cause. Why fight it. Itunes is great
    for everyone...it protects artists and it allows people to listen to the
    widest range of music available for only $.99 per download. It's a
    deal.
    Toddmont
    • Itunes is great for everyone

      If it were a little more open to competition I'd tend to agree with you - Otherwise, iTunes is just great for Apple - Online Music stores are great for everyone.
      IronCladChicken
      • hmmm

        If it were a little more open to competition I'd tend to agree with you - Otherwise, iTunes is just great for Apple - Online Music stores are great for everyone.

        it is open to competition....you want to buy music, how many 100'000's of music stores are there????

        iTunes and mp3 is just a matter of convenience. too lazy to go to a store or want just one tune off an album of crappy music? go to iTunes Music Store and buy the one tune that has value to YOU.
        richvball44