Apple vs. Beatles could be solved with fat check and spinning off iTunes from Apple Computer

“It seems to me that Apple Computer is doing just fine without any help from the Beatles. McCartney will not join Apple’s board, and AppleCorps will not take a big stake in Apple Computer. Much as I am a Beatles fan, this trademark complaint wouldn’t be happening if iTunes had been a failure. OK, maybe it still would have, but no one would be talking about such huge settlements if iTunes and the iPod had failed to become the cultural phenomena that they have,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes.

“Apple could make this entire thing go away by spinning off the entire iTunes Music Store as a subsidiary and stop promoting it under the Apple Computer name. This would harm its prospects not one bit. No one who’s been awake during the last year hasn’t heard of an iPod or seen it in one of those TV ads in heavy rotation. The iPod brand is turning out to be as powerful a brand name as that of its corporate parent. By itself, it’s also free of any expensive encumbrances involving musicians who haven’t done anything terribly interesting in the last few years,” Hesseldahl writes.

“That won’t change the fact that Apple Computer will probably have to cough up for the time it’s already spent promoting the iPod and iTunes under the Apple brand, but it would also take all the oxygen out of the Beatles’ legal complaints the next time they send forth their lawyers on another shakedown mission,” Hesseldahl writes. “Jobs is no slouch when it comes to business. He had to see this problem on the horizon when the iTunes business plan was first drawn up. Paying off the Beatles couldn’t help but be part of the contingency plans. This is where Apple’s $4.5 billion cash reserve will come in handy. A fat check to the Beatles won’t sting as much now as it once would have.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
The Beatles gearing up for a fight over Apple’s iTunes Music Store – June 03, 2003
The Beatles sue Apple Computer over iPod, iTunes – September 12, 2003
Sosumi: more on the Beatles’ lawsuit against Apple Computer, Inc. – September 12, 2003
Forbes: Apple vs. Apple; iTunes Music Store just might end up with exclusive Beatles deal – September 12, 2003
Apple and Apple issue statements regarding ‘Apple’ trademark lawsuit – September 12, 2003
Analyst: Apple vs. Apple trademark infringment suit just ‘a blip on the radar’ – September 13, 2003
Steve Jobs comments on Apple vs. Apple trademark dispute – September 17, 2003
Beatles’ Apple vs. Jobs’ Apple; 1991 agreement allows Mac maker ‘data transmission services, even music data’ – February 26, 2004
Fox News: Paul McCartney could end up owning Apple’s iTunes Music Store – August 14, 2004
Apple’s settlement with Beatles could be ‘biggest settlement in legal history’ – September 13, 2004


  1. Not to mention the “free” advertising. Whatever happens will be plastered all over all media everywhere. It might even be cheap by comparison with normal rates.

    Maybe Apple will just buy out Apple Corps, although that might put off the big labels – it is too soon yet. I don’t doubt that Steve has his own “Apple Corps” philosophy standing by. Remember that Apple Corps was formed to allow “struggling artists” to make their music.


  2. I say prove it. I never heard of Apple corps until after I first heard of this lawsuit.

    Second from what I have discovered is that Apple couldn’t enter the Music business. All iTunes is a reseller channel. Apple isn’t making any music.(excpet for sosumi)

    Third Apple Corps doesn’t have any talent left, is now a poor pathetic company. They don’t evenown the rights to the beatles any more as Micheal jackson bought those.

  3. This is all a crock of shit cooked up by Daily Variety magazine and spread all over the media. They own up to the fact that their article is based on rumour, “word among the legal community” and an uninvolved lawyer are their sources.

    Apple Computer is specifically entitled to: “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).”

    Apple Corps can argue either Apple Computer is de facto changing their name to Apple or that digital downloads are the modern day equivalent of physical media otherwise they have no case.

    What could come out of a renegotiation (amongst many other ideas already expounded) is that Apple could distribute physical CDs, an obvious enhancement to iTMS that they have not been able to do.

  4. peragirn, You’re wrong. Michael Jackson/ATV & Sony purchased rights to the Beatles music catalog… the songs. I believe Jackson has sold back his share to Sony.
    The Beatles still control their recordings.
    I always thought that was all Apple needed to do, spin off the iTMS store under a different name. Remember when they first started it was “Apple”. That was changed rather quickly to just prior to the lawsuit going public. Apple really kind of screwed up on this one. It will eventually be settled. A bit of history. Originally the Beatles were signed to EMI, the parent company of Capitol Records. Sometime after the 4th or 5th year they incorporated and started the Apple Corps record label. Mary Hopkin was the first artist released. EMI retained distribution worldwide. (Capitol handled it in the U.S.).

  5. I bet this One Yokel inspired this entire charade. She is one hell of a greedy bi*ch and anyway, eventhough the Beatles were the In-Thing in the 60’s, most people I know don’t even own a single Album of theirs. It would be interesting to know what illegal download rate of Beatles Music is.

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