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. If Sony, owns the publishing rights, do they also get the royalties from any artist singing a beatles song?

    Sony or Apple could hire a bunch of high profile bands and cover beatles songs and then sell them on iTMS.

    The Beatles only control their own recordings.

    They could not stop Britney, Backstreet Boys, InSync, Jlo and a few rappers butchering old Beatles songs…

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. “Must be the remaining Beatles have run out of Number Ones to re-release.”

    Yep, that’s because the remaining members of the Beatles (McCartney & Starkey) only wrote Number Two’s… Read the lyrics to Lennon’s “How Can You Sleep”, it tells the whole story…

  3. “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).”

    So could this article be taken one step further and argued that the files iTMS sales and distributes are in fact not audio files, but digital files?

  4. sjk, there are no amount of words that can describe an image (picture), as images do not reside in words. That’s a stupid old cliche, used by people who are terminally lazy mentally.

  5. AL wrote:

    “If Sony, owns the publishing rights, do they also get the royalties from any artist singing a beatles song?

    Sony or Apple could hire a bunch of high profile bands and cover beatles songs and then sell them on iTMS.”

    And what would the point of that be?

    Yes, Sony would get a publishing royalty, but the Beatles would still a get songwriting royalties. So if the idea is to screw McCartney & co., it’s not a very good plan.

  6. In addition to iNew’s “Beatles are so yesterday”…

    “Oh Darling!”, so what if It’s been a “Long and winding road”, why don’t Apple Corps and Apple computer “Come Together”.

    Or is it the case that you can now only hear the “Piggies” saying “Money (that’s what I want)”…
    “Baby you’re a rich man” is what others will say, but
    Apple Corps will say “It’s for the benefit of Mr. Kite”.

    If “All you need is love” why don’t they just “Let it be”?

    If they get the $$ off of Apple Computer, “With a little help from their friends”, they’re gonna have to “Carry that weight (a long time)”.

    “In the end the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” They obviously never believed that.

    I guess “Tomorrow Never Knows” what will happen.

    (yea, pretty cummy, sorry)

  7. AL wrote:

    “Sony or Apple could hire a bunch of high profile bands and cover beatles songs and then sell them on iTMS.”

    iTMS already has an iMix of Beatles cover songs.

    Its called “Beatles for Sale”

    I forget who created it…..

  8. In a recent UK lawsuit a UK band called BLUE comprising 4 or 5 geriatric country singers tried to claim copyright infringement on the name from a boy band of the same name.

    The judge dismissed the case because he could see no way the modern pop music buyer could ever mistake the two. And therefore there was no potential loss for the orignal band to claim of the new boy band.

    Ditto Apple Corps – a shell company no one under 50 has heard of and the computer Company making iPod that all youngsters have heard of.

  9. Don’t worry, methinks that SJ jas planned this all along. Apple will pay The Beatles a nice sum of money. What’s left of them will appear at the grand opening of the new London Apple Store to announce that the entire Beatles catalog is now on iTMS. Everyone will love it, and both come out smelling like roses.

  10. Damm Litigous Bastards, who ever heard of Apple Records anyhow?

    How about Apple Farms or Apple Sauce?

    This is another of John Scully’s screw-ups.

    Along with outsting Jobs and settling with Microsoft.

    Lets go lynching!!!

    Got a rope?

  11. Well, anybody who knows ANYTHING knows that the real Paul McCartney is dead anyway. I think Jobs & Co. should use all their money and counter-culture saavy to prove once and for all that the Beatles signed a deal with the Devil to become as famous as they did and that Paul had to pay the price for the band’s avarice.

    “I told you ’bout the fool on the hill
    I tell you, man, he’s living there still….”

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