Beatles to Sue Apple over ITMS

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Macmaniac, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Macmaniac macrumors 68040


    Check this out not cool:
    Link Here
    Will the Beatles Take a Bite of Apple Computer?

    It's a busy time for Apple Computer. Its iPod portable music player is the Walkman of the millennium. The accompanying iTunes program is resolving long-standing disputes in the record industry. Apple is reportedly even looking into buying a record company. But there's a wrinkle.

    It's the Beatles. They haven't recorded together since 1969. Two of the four original members are, quite sadly, deceased. And yet the Beatles stand to pose a big problem for Apple Computer.

    That's because the Beatles own a holding company called Apple Corps, Ltd., which controls Apple Records, which released records by the Beatles and other artists from 1968 until the mid-'70s, and was recently resurrected to releases Beatles anthologies. Any good Beatle fan knows that.

    Apple Computer's Steve Jobs was such a Beatle fan that he named his company after the record label.

    But the Beatles, who are notoriously protective of their rights and quite litigious, weren't so happy with Jobs. In 1981 they made him sign something agreeing never to go into the music business in order to keep a name they had trademarked.

    But then in the mid-1980s, Apple Computer started producing music files and software. It had to pony up $26 million when the Beatles sued, and again promised not to go into any more music businesses.

    Fast forward: Since that last agreement in 1991, Apple has changed its tune. It has the iPod and iTunes. There was talk it was thinking of buying Universal Music Group. It's also said to be having talks with about some sort of joint marketing venture.

    It's clear that Apple wants into the music business sooner rather than later. The Beatles, I am told, are gearing up for a fight.

    One might assume that the exclusion of Beatles songs from the Apple iTunes Music Store library has something to do with this. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a few other acts have so far not agreed to be part of the service, which charges 99 cents per song.

    Of course, the Beatles aren't part of any legal downloading service. They have always been wary of new technology as it affects royalties. For example, they didn't issue CD's until 1987, five years after the format debuted in North America.

    A source at their very tony British law firm, Eversheds, says not to read anything into this. "There's no particular reason the Beatles aren't in iTunes. They're not on any service," he says.

    Another Beatles barrister told me: "There can't be any digital distribution without Apple's consent. And so far it hasn't happened. Neil Aspinall [who runs Apple Corps] has done a wonderful job keeping the group off the Internet and not included in things like Greatest Hits of the Sixties. He's made it exclusive."

    But soon Apple Corps is going to want something from Apple Computer besides a few laptops for its executives. Even though Apple Corps/Apple Records is a small but thriving operation, its Beatle business continues to produce a lot of money. Recently, the best-selling album 1 made it a fortune.

    There was also the recent reissue of A Hard Day's Night on DVD. It's just released The Beatles Anthology on DVD for the first time. In the fall, Apple Records will issue Let it Be on DVD and on a remixed CD without Phil Spector's much-discussed overblown production. It should be a bonanza.

    Still to come are the "lost" Get Back album, as well as first-time CD issues of albums such as Beatles' Rarities and Live at Shea Stadium.

    There's also a possible Hey Jude album, which was an American-only LP release; and all those tapes recently discovered in vaults and basements will undoubtedly be organized into a commercial project..

    Nick Valner, the Beatles' attorney at Eversheds, was away and did not return calls this week. But Apple Corps, which operates in secrecy (its number is unlisted and no one's allowed to give it out), I am told, has been "in meetings" as the Apple Computer story progresses in the newspapers.

    Valner does not hesitate to move against infringers of the Beatle trademark and neither do the other Beatle lawyers. They've sued over not only domain names but also unauthorized use of the Apple logo.

    One lawyer who's worked on Beatles cases for 20 years told me: "They are very vigilant about pursuing these things."

    The question now is how vigilant the Beatles will be concerning Apple Computer's new business interests.

    Lets hope this does not get messy!!
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    I thought the Gloved Freak controlled a rather large portion of the Beatle songbook -- about half a billion dollars worth -- and was the wedge between Paul and Michael Jackson.

    Of course if Steve really wanted to yank the Beatles chain he could always buy the Beatles Songs outright from Michael.
  3. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
  4. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    Jackson owns a part of the song rights -- he does not own or control the recordings themselves.

    Snopes has the skinny.
  5. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    this appears to be mostly a speculative article.

  6. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL, USA

    i hadn't thought about the old beatles law suits until this article, though. it will be interesting to watch this play out.

    Sun Baked- i'm not sure that MJ owns the copywritten album versions of Beatles songs; i think he just owns the publishing rights (which allow him to sell those rights to cover acts, like the soundtrack to "i am sam" and the rash of commercials featuring poorly redone Beatles tunes.) i could be wrong though. someone clarify, please.
  7. Falleron macrumors 68000


    Nov 22, 2001
    I hope the beatles dont do anything. They are great. However, so is Apple! Anyway, does anyone remember that radio article where Paul McCartney talks about Apple Computers + its development of software for Macs? Seemed to me that he was quite happy with Macs in general.
  8. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Nooooo, not my 2 mostest faviorate groups fighting... noooo...

    The only thing worse is that this story comes from foxnews! :rolleyes:

    I know Steve is a big beatles fan, but comeon, suing them for a breach of a really bad contract...

    Gah, why can't they get along?
  9. CountZero macrumors member

    May 5, 2002
    Memo to self: do not click on "Buy song" on iTMS when Beatles tracks are added.
  10. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    why not?

    If they even get the tracks there will be some Major agreement.
  11. jimthorn macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2003
    Huntington Beach, CA, USA
    Considering the past legal troubles between the two Apples, this issue must have already been resolved by our favorite Apple with regards to the iTMS.
  12. Blackcat macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2002
    Cirencester, UK
    "Neil Aspinall [who runs Apple Corps] has done a wonderful job keeping the group off the Internet and not included in things like Greatest Hits of the Sixties. He's made it exclusive."

    That's why they are all over Gnuttella...
  13. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Re: Beatles to Sue Apple over ITMS

    Wasn't the Sosumi ("So sue me") sound named because of the Beatles?

    Apple seems to be in the habit of inviting lawsuits; such as over the "Classic" name, and "Carl Sagan" / "BHA - ButtHead Astronomer"! And didn't Tenon have the iTools moniker before Apple?

  14. wsteineker macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2001
    Montgomery, AL
    So with all the speculation, I guess no one noticed that the article was from Fox News, and wasn't very well researched (shocker). Seriously, did any of you notice that the article claims that Steve Jobs named Apple Computer after Apple Records because he was such a huge Beatles fan? WTF? :rolleyes:
  15. synergy macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2002
    This is the second Apple records is going to sue Apple computer in the last month in the same column. The guy might just be trying to get Apple records to sue them so he can say he was right. Most of the time his predictions are pretty lame and far from accurate. The occasional story he gets right. Where he does not get it right he re-writes around it.

    Total lamo IMO.
  16. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Dec 14, 2001
    Yea, this story is old, came out the same day the ITMS went live. Because that meant Apple was into music thus violating the settlement.
  17. drastik macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2002
    FoxNews is the most conservatively biased source in the world. They are taking an editorial slant against a liberal company. ITs like the NYTimes running left tilted articles about M$, take it with a graine of salt, it just politics.
  18. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    I don't think of MS as a conservative company; in fact, I think it's pretty liberal. Gates is a Dem, I believe; I know he supported Clinton.

    It'd be more like the NYT running a slanted article against, say Enron... er, oops.

    Then again, I don't think the NYT would tend to run such a piece of crap of a story.
  19. bennetsaysargh macrumors 68020


    Jan 20, 2003
    New York
    Apple vs. The Beatles.
    i wonder what the PC users will say when this makes the 10 o'clock news.
    hold on, corny joke not abl to be held back any longer...

    why can't they just "let it be"?

    sorry, tacky corny joke, but i had to get it out:p
  20. drastik macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2002
    Conservative in the since that MS is big business, Apple is Medium Business. Corporate culture, etc.

    To get it back on topic, though, I'm interested in the bias of this particular reporter as his arguments are unsubstaniated in the article. A lot of hearsay, if you will.
  21. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Bill is a liberal in social ideas, but consertive on money more info

    But more than that the beatles will probably not sue apple, I'm sure they will try to patch things up.
  22. BaghdadBob macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2003
    Gorgeous, WA
    Follow the news much, do we? :rolleyes:

    Oh, and before we get too busy bashing Fox for this story, if you look, it's in an entertainment column, people. IN an entertainment column -- it's not even its own article. Pay attention.

    You might as well be getting your business news from Joan Rivers...


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