Beatles vs. Apple Computer: outcome is far from a lock for Beatles

“For the third time since 1981, Apple faces a legal scrap with Apple Corps, the music- and copyright-management outfit originally formed by the Beatles,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek. The pending claim alleges that the iTunes online music store violates a previous agreement limiting the types of business Apple Computer may pursue under the Apple trademark. The case will be heard in London’s High Court later this year. In the two previous cases, Apple Corps emerged as the clear victor, basically dictating terms to Apple Computer.

“This time the outcome is far from a lock for Apple Corps. Make no mistake: There will be a settlement. No one benefits from pushing a case all the way through a full trial and appeals because the costs are prohibitive. But analyst predictions that the case could cost Apple Computer hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement payments, even the use of its own name on music products, are way out of line,” Salkever writes.

“‘The iPod and iTunes brand names are very, very strong,’ says Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with tech consultancy Jupiter Research. In fact, Apple has already taken a step in that direction by creating a new division exclusively for iPod design, production, and manufacturing,” Salkever writes.

“This is one suit that appears to present a strong chance for an Apple Computer win. However, it’s nearly impossible to predict judicial logic — even if the judge owns an iPod, as the one hearing this case does. But if Apple Computer should lose this legal battle, it still has the artillery triumph in the digital-download war. Maybe it could finally ink a deal with Apple Corp that adds those much-missed Beatles songs to the iTunes Music Store,” Salkever writes.

Full article here.


  1. At last a writer/journalist has done a little research and written a sensible article.

    One thing I want to see from the negotiations is Apple Computer being able to sell physical CDs from iTMS. Customers will get the instant gratification of downloads plus the better quality CD delivered a few days later. Pricing to be determined (say 35% discount and free shipping) but such a combination will put pressure on the music industry to reduce the rates for online music which are ridiculously high, even more than they get from CD sales.

  2. I don’t think it’s that cut & dry that Apple Computer violated the terms of the agreement. From what I’ve read, the agreement stated that Apple Computer was allowed to use the name for items including data transfer, and that’s all iTMS does. It just so happens that the data being transferred becomes music when used by the right software.

  3. You�re all suckers if you want to buy anything from Apple Corpse. Don�t you think if they’d cared about their fans, they�d off released their music on-line? This is the loyalty you get from them, for all you’ve given’ over the years. All your money going to their bank accounts, but it’s not that money they want anymore. You mean nothin’ to them. They want free money. Anyone they can sue from. It’s not like the surviving Corpses are doing anything new, is it? People, get over them & start growing up. There not coming back.

  4. The thing I find funny about this is that no one cares what company produces a particular artist. Without looking at a jewel case, can anyone name the labels of three artists in your music collection?
    I didn’t think so.

    Apple Corps should just settle this and let Apple do its thing.

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