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The Beatles, Apple, and iTunes 367

Posted by Hemos
from the a-tale-of-two-apples dept.
novus ordo writes "Apple is being sued in London by Apple Corps, owned by the former Beatles and their heirs. This is a third battle over the name 'Apple' in Britain. Apple Corps has previously been awarded $26M by Apple Computer for the use of the name."
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The Beatles, Apple, and iTunes

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  • by seanyboy (587819) * on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:32AM (#15001854)
    Apple seem to be relying on the "It doesn't come on physical media, so it doesn't apply" argument. I wonder if the fact that Apple produced the special U2 iPod (A physical product containing "music") will be held against them.

    Generally though, this is nonsense. The Apple Group are just trying to get money out of Apple Computers. The fact that this wasn't resolved years ago shows both the incompetence of the Apple Computer Lawyers, and the stupidity of current trademark legislation.
  • by johnjones (14274) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:32AM (#15001857) Homepage Journal
    err its their fault

    AFAIK they broke the contract (which promised not to go into music )

    and now they are acting like a record label

    so the courts will hear all the evidance and decide

    regards

    John Jones

    p.s. this is a story ?

  • by fatduck (961824) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:34AM (#15001865)
    It's not music, it's just data? Wonder how that affects RIAA and the DRM debate.
  • Re:Gah? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rebeka thomas (673264) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:34AM (#15001866)
    If you ask any random 16-24 yr old person on the street the name of the Beatles label you'll probably get a low percentage of correct answers.

    Precisely proof that Apple Computer has diluted the trademark of Apple Corps to the extent that they have illegally substituted their brand for that of the original owners.

    Which is why this lawsuit against Apple Computer must succeed to be fair.
  • by aidanjpadden (314134) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:42AM (#15001906)
    What actually do Apple Records do nowadays if they don't hold the back catalogues?

    I'm guessing they don't release the new Beatles records, so is it just a holding company to look after the existing assets?

    Maybe in this case it would be more effective for Apple Corporation to buy Apple Records - or maybe it would be even more appropriate for Steve Jobs other media corporation, Disney, to just buy Apple Records?

    As for the point of the remaining Beatles licensing the back catalogue to Apple to make available via iTunes, wouldn't it actually be Michael Jackson who would be in the position to do that?

    Seeing as he's in financial trouble lately from what you hear with all the news reports maybe it would make commercial sense for Apple Corporation to buy the back catalogue from him, which I think would really wind up the existing Beatles.

    Surely as a band they would want to make sure that their music is available to the largest possible userbase. The world has changed since 1960 and this would appear to be the way forward?
  • Re:Gah? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adjensen (58676) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:55AM (#15001954)
    If you ask any random 16-24 yr old person on the street the name of the Beatles label you'll probably get a low percentage of correct answers.

    Precisely proof that Apple Computer has diluted the trademark of Apple Corps to the extent that they have illegally substituted their brand for that of the original owners.

    Or maybe it's because Apple Records (records? what the fug is a record?) haven't had a new release in, what, 30 years? When was the last Badfinger album?

    Personally, I thought that the Beatles' claim to the original trademark infringement was pretty tenuous. Apple Computer should have fought that one tooth and nail. At this point, it's a lot more relevant, but, again, their basis seems pretty diluted.

    At any rate, although Apple Computer (not "Apple") runs the iTunes Music Store, I don't think that they're promoting it as the "Apple Music Store". They should tell Paul, Ringo, Yoko and whoever's running the show for George to cheese off -- it's time to get this monkey off the back, even if it means a long court stint.

  • Re:Gah? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by N Monkey (313423) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:55AM (#15001956)
    I dunno, but only people who are over the age of 50 would even be old enough to remember the Beatles and specifically the name "Apple" being associated with them.
    I, for one, am not over 50 but certainly associate The Beatles and "Apple" so perhaps you should reconsider making blanket statements.
  • Re:Gah? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:56AM (#15001961)
    He is not saying that you have to be old to be a fan of the beatles. What he means is that only people over 50 will associate the Beatles with the Apple record label. I doubt your 8 year old son knows that Apple is the Beatles record label.
  • spin off itunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rogueuk (245470) on Monday March 27, 2006 @09:11AM (#15002014) Homepage
    So I guess this would be another reason for Apple to spin off iTunes into their own company.

    I would think Apple records would have a harder time suing iTunes Corporation
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 27, 2006 @09:17AM (#15002054)
    It *was* resolved years ago, in 1991: Apple Computers got to use the name so long as they didn't get involved in the music business or set themselves up as a record label. Since that was explicitly set out in the settlement, and was the basis of the agreement, it's hardly surprising that iTunes has got up their nose.
  • by 3-State Bit (225583) on Monday March 27, 2006 @09:38AM (#15002166)
    That none of the the iPod or iTunes marketing material uses the trademark "Apple"! At most, they use their trademarked slick stylized fruit.

    Go ahead, search for the word "Apple" on this page:
    The fact is, the trademark they seem to be using for anything music related is a stylized fruit, along with the trademarks "iPod" and "iTunes". When have you ever heard a phrase like "the Apple iTunes store". It's just the iTunes store, it's just the iPod, and the posters just use a stylized fruit (sorry, there's no html entity I can insert for it.), which is Apple's trademark.

    They can't help having a certain company name, which they don't use in their music business! Not because it wouldn't add value, but because (in music) it's not their trademark to use. They don't infringe. [wikipedia.org]
    Infringement may occur when one party, the "infringer", uses a trademark which is identical or confusingly similar to a registered trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Monday March 27, 2006 @09:47AM (#15002211) Homepage
    Uhh... the agreement specified physical media - that of course assumes you read the article which you obviously haven't.

    Uhh... the agreement specified that Apple "could not use the title "Apple" for any works "whose principal content is music and, or performances." - that of course assumes you read the article which you obviously haven't.
  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday March 27, 2006 @09:56AM (#15002262) Homepage
    Apple don't distribute any physical music, not sheet music, not discs, not vinyl, not tapes.

    Apple's iTunes music store sells music. We all know that when you buy music, you're buying intellectual property (a "license" to listen to a creative work), not just a physical disc of aluminum and plastic. Isn't that why so many people here on Slashdot complain that when they buy a CD/DVD, and their kid wrecks it, they should be entitled to another copy, free of charge? Now, you're saying that record labels sell physical media, not the creative work itself? Which is it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:00AM (#15002293)
    You're missing the point. Apple computer licensed the name from Apple Corps under the condition that they stay out of the music business. And they didn't.
  • by VisiX (765225) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:06AM (#15002336)
    I believe I found the word apple in the address bar of the first page you linked. If I have to type in the apple, I think it is even more relevant.
  • Re:Gah? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jimbolauski (882977) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:09AM (#15002349) Journal
    How can the beatles product be diluted when they don't own the publishing rights to most of their songs which belong to neverland inc and the recording rights which belong to capitol records. It seems apple has a name and no product.

    I have now decided to start a couple million shell companies with all the names left in the dictonary an put a nice little tm next to them. As long as I'm first with the name I don't need a product that will be diluted to make my millions suing people.
  • by amliebsch (724858) on Monday March 27, 2006 @10:59AM (#15002733) Journal
    it's the itunes music service which deliver music to ipods not the apple music service delivering to the apple pod. in general references are made to mac's not even apple mac's

    So I suppose to download music I would go to www.itunes.com, righ? Hmmmm, why look at that, it redirects to www.apple.com. Why, look at the titlebar! "Apple - iPod + iTunes!" No Apple branding there, no siree!

  • by mmeister (862972) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:55AM (#15003231)

    and now they are acting like a record label

    Actually, they are acting more like a Record Store, not a Record Company

    iTunes Music Store is like Tower Records or Best Buy.

    They are NOT currently fulfilling the role of a record label (which I believe is to leech money from the artists and provide no value to the end customer).

  • Re:Gah? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:17PM (#15003431)
    but Apple Corp was nice enough to let them keep using that name on one condition - that Apple computers never enter into the sale of music.

    Oh, it was because the were NICE!

    And here I thought it was because they had no case at all, and chose a settlement that barely covered their lawyer fees and didn't revoke the naming rights because it was they best they could have hoped for at the time.

    But your explanation, that they are really nice people, makes way more sense.
  • Re:The solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BarryNorton (778694) on Monday March 27, 2006 @01:11PM (#15003831)
    ... except that the continued sales of Beatles records, especially the reissues of former rarities, proves that there's still more to life than iTMS (which I, for one, have never used...)

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