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On Apple vs Apple 324

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ridiculous-court-cases dept.
Since nothing else really interesting is happening, here is a CNN story about Apple vs Apple where you can read about the latest developments in the latest round of the never ending court battles as two bazillion dollar companies fight over who gets to use the word 'Apple' to sell music.
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On Apple vs Apple

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  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:36AM (#15045696) Homepage
    I thought that would come up - the production. It's a mixed bag, really. In some (many!) ways the production techniques (initially or primarily down to George Martin, Geoff Emerick, and others) *were* very advanced (artificial double tracking, for example).

    I probably misspoke, in that the Beatles themselves probably would have preferred 8 track recording earlier than they got it. Had they made it more of a cause earlier on, they probably would have convinced EMI to install 8 track equipment, but instead didn't press that issue (I can't imagine that by 1966 they didn't know it was equipment that was available!)

    I wouldn't say "Apple" or "The Beatles" cash in on Lennon's name/image much - Yoko does that herself. I don't mean "cash in" in a particularly bad way (though it seems you did!). She's just doing good business. The Beatles themselves as a group have 4 good names to cash in on. I would argue that trying to cash in on the names of just one of them simply doesn't work very well - they were very much bigger than the sum of their individual names/contributions, and that's why "The Beatles" as an entity will continue to be a big draw for a long time.

    Will they continue to sell millions per year? Probably not over the long haul, but it's damn impressive that much of their music still sounds fresh today (good production and equipment used all those years ago), and that many of the songs still are able to speak to new generations.
  • I recall that "Sony's" was a restaurant in Hong Kong that predated "Sony" the electronics and music company by many years, yet the latter sued the former for a good deal of money.
  • by chivo243 (808298) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:03PM (#15045775)
    It would seem that apple corps really will be laughed out of court. Apple corps probably hasn't sold 2 records in the past decade.... Legally they are probably squatting on the name.... and that is grounds for a suit to be named later. I thought, I heard in the distance, this is the inroad for Sir Paul to seat his ass on the Apple computers B.O.D.? We all know apple corps was a flash in the pan record company that only exists as an "honored guest" in todays music word.
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:23PM (#15045850) Homepage
    But they have a contract with Apple Computer, don't they? One that essentially boils down to "we allow you to use our trademarked "Apple" name, and in return, you promise to not enter the music business".

    I may be misremembering things, but if that's what it's like, it seems pretty clear that Apple *has* violated the contract by starting iTunes.
  • by nyquil superstar (249173) <[ten.tsercwons] [ta] [noraa]> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:30PM (#15045872)
    It's a shame to see the comments thus far. There are the usual appologists, "Apple (Computer) can do no wrong!" and some decent guessing, but without the terms of the contract to inspect, everything happening is speculation on the behalf of readers.

    My understanding from what I have read is this is not a trademark dispute, but rather a contract dispute, which will be governed by different aspects of the law. There are some important unanswered questions:
    1. What are the material terms of the contract?
    2. What was the duration of the contract? US law requires a finite duration, otherwise it's valid for a "reasonable" amount of time (How's that for vague!).

    If I permit myself to do some speculation, I'd suspect Apple Comp is treading on dangerous ground. They know and have known this, hence the contract in '92. It's not a tough argument to make for Apple Corp. We, Apple, sell music. They, Apple, sell music. See the confusion? Apple Corp, was there first and had first use and trademark. Most any lawyer ought to be able to make that argument successfully. But this isn't about the trademark, it's about the details of that contract, which I haven't seen in the article.

    And a note to the applogists: I don't think Apple Corp is doing anything wrong. They have an established business that predated Apple computer. They are attempting to enforce the esisting contract with Apple Comp. Good for them, everyone should be held to their word.
  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:32PM (#15045883)
    In many ways, this reminds me of SCO v. IBM or anyone of the hundreds of court battles out there now between innovating companies and companies coasting along on the inertia of their past glory. Here we have one compay that's changing how music is sold and listened to (Apple Computer) versus another that's relying on sales of 30 year old songs.
  • Re:"MacTunes" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artemis67 (93453) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @02:14PM (#15046259)
    Except that their largest audience is on the WINDOWS platform.

    Naming products isn't the problem, since it's not called the "Apple Music Store" but the "iTunes Music Store"; the problem is Apple's ownership of it.

    Feasibly, Apple Computer could spin off iTunes and the iPod into a separate business. Hovever, the Apple Computer brand is one of the most recognizable in the world, with many millions having been spent on building brand awareness, so it's worth fighting to keep it an Apple-branded product.

    It also helps to position future Apple-branded products, because of the success associated with iTMS.
  • by jefu (53450) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @02:41PM (#15046356) Homepage Journal
    "Revolution" was written by John Lennon who, I seriously doubt, has had much to do with Apple Records for the last 25 or so years.

    Indeed, I doubt that George Harrison had much to do with this decision.

    Ringo or Paul, I don't know about, but I suspect the decision may have had more to do with protecting their trademark than anything else. Since trademark is one of those things that you have to actively defend, its most probable that the lawyers for Apple Records made the decision and who knows if any of the original Beatles were consulted (even by Ouija Board).

  • by CottonEyedJoe (177704) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:24PM (#15046686) Journal
    However, why Jobs keeps "stealing" is beyond me - from the original GUI on down the line - to the music business copyright of Apple.


    Xerox received Apple stock in exchange for showing Apple the details of its GUI. It was understood that Apple would apply that knowledge to creating its own GUI for the consumer market which Xerox had no interest in. "Stealing" was not involved.

    As I understand the music disagreement, Apple Comp's position is that they are allowed to distribute digital content through their 1991 settlement. Apple Corp's position is that the current shift in the music business to non-physical media has changed the music climate and the settlement should allow for that.

    I'd just point out that Apple's position on DRM has been decidely pro consumer. The "little guy stealing" you claim "Jobs" is against have quite a bit of freedom WRT Apple products. The iPod and iTunes happily play non-DRM'd music (iTunes even plays OGG with a codec extension). Apple has not gone out of their way to prevent users from copying DRM AAC music. There are numerous solutions for removing the DRM. Apple even featured your "victim" in the "Rip, Mix, Burn" ad campaign which I'm quite certain Steve-o signed off on.
  • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:32PM (#15046709)
    Obviously there's been decades of "spin" around the issue, so at this point there's plenty of folklore to go around. But, Apple Computer has been licencing their trademark from Apple Records since 1981 (long before they had a sound chip even), so if you follow the money, it's pretty obvious why.
  • by BeerCat (685972) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @04:38PM (#15046727) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure Apple Records is still doing a lot more business than most small-time indie labels

    I doubt it. They seem to have lost all business acumen lately. As for Apple Corps it is missing out on one revenue stream by not allowing Beatles music to be sold on iTunes. [thestar.com], as well as any revenue from allowing sampling from Beatles tracks.

    Of course, there is one Beatles track on iTMS featuring one of the members of the Fab Four - the http://digital-lifestyles.info/display_page.asp?se ction=cm&id=2359 [slashdot.org]>Paul McCartney / U2 version of "Sgt Pepper", so Apple music have already lost by allowing precedent. Since Apple Corps have also sued EMI (who only distributed all the music!), they have about as much sense as SCO, and deserve nothing (and that's without the /. anti-SCO meme).
  • by tootlemonde (579170) on Monday April 03, 2006 @02:39AM (#15048443)

    Its more entertaining than a dry old book written in a very dated dialect

    The first Book of Kings, from which the Soloman story is taken, is a pretty good read. You can go with the one of the modern translations [ibs.org] if Elizabethan English puts you off. It begins:

    1 When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. 2 So his attendants said to him, "Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm."

    3 Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.

    Compare this passage to the King James Version [ibs.org]:

    [1] Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

    [2] Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

    [3] So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.

    [4] And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

    Either way, dry it is not.

"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." -- Bertrand Russell, _Sceptical_Essays_, 1928

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