Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

On Apple vs Apple

Comments Filter:
  • by Phantombrain (964010) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @09:59AM (#15045545) Journal
    Why don't they just cut the logo in half and let them each use half an apple?
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) * on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:00AM (#15045548) Homepage Journal
    You say you want a revolution?
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it's evolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world

    But nothing TOO different please. Please don't change the status quo TOO much. Don't rock the boat if you're in it. I don't want to put my music on this interweb thingy...
    • But nothing TOO different please. Please don't change the status quo TOO much. Don't rock the boat if you're in it. I don't want to put my music on this interweb thingy...

      Let who put it on the internet? A company that you were nice to and gave a break to by letting them use your name if they stayed out of the music business. Despite the fact that the two founders were from a generation intimately familiar with the Beatles and probably 100% aware of Apple Records. You gave them the benefit of the doubt.
      • by EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) * on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:11PM (#15046024) Homepage Journal
        Who sued who? I don't think that Apple Computer ever sued Apple Corp. If I understand correctly, this is the fourth 1time [wikipedia.org] that Apple Records sued Apple Computers since 1981.

        Here's a very interesting part from that WP article regarding the 1991 settlement:

        "The 1991 settlement outlines the rights each company has to the Apple trademark. While Apple Corps was given the right to use the name on any "creative works whose principal content is music", Apple Computer was given the right to use the name on "goods or services...used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content," but not on content distributed on physical media.[1] In other words, Apple Computer agreed that it would not package, sell or distribute physical music materials."

        It's fair to own a copyright when there could be confusion between two similar companies, so that a second company can't steal the thunder from the first company.

        But come on, it's been years since they heyday of Apple Corp. All of my beatle albums have a big "EMI" logo on them. Nobody is going to mistake Apple Computer for Apple Records. This is a cheap attempt for Apple Records to get money from Apple.

        For the record, I don't like Apple. But these lawsuits are pretty farging lame.
        • ... but not on content distributed on physical media ...
          Damn, too bad someone discovered a nonphysical way to distribute music.
        • Neither owns a "copyright" on using the name Apple to sell music. Copyrights are not trademarks, trademarks are not patents, patents are not copyrights. They are all different, the laws surrounding their use are all different, their durations are different, and what qualifies as "infringement" of them is all different.

          The general public always gets them confused, and the companies exploit this confusion as yet another way to con people into thinking the companies have more rights than they actually do.

    • 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.
    • Steve Jobs is the Walrus.
    • "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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:00AM (#15045549)
    ...vs orange?
  • I hope (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:09AM (#15045586) Homepage
    I hope Apple wins.
  • by john-da-luthrun (876866) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:10AM (#15045589)

    The CNN article gets a little over-excited about Apple Computer's barrister saying that "even a moron in a hurry" could tell the difference between the two brands.

    The lawyer wasn't being gratuitously offensive - the "moron in a hurry" is an established figure in English passing off/trade mark law, like the "man on the Clapham omnibus". The phrase comes from an action for "passing off" (i.e. infringement of an unregistered trade mark) a few years ago, where the court held that there would be no infringement where the only person likely to be confused by two different usages of a mark is the said "moron in a hurry".

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:11AM (#15045593)
    Apple Corp is an utterly irrelevant entity that hasn't been a force in the music industry in three decades. I'm willing to bet that a good number of younger Beatles fans have no clue as to who they are. The "threat" Apple Computer poses to their trademark recognition is already nullified by its lack of mindshare. People still love the Beatles' music, but the Apple "label" is just a joke that has slipped out of the minds of many.

    Microware's laughable suit against Apple over the "OS-9" / MacOS 9" "confusion" was on more firm ground than this.
    • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:23AM (#15045630)
      While all that might be true, it doesn't change the fact there's some sort of contract between the two.

      The worst outcome in this case appears to be that Apple Inc will need to remove their logo from the iTunes program and maybe pay some money. It's not going to shut down their music ventures and doesn't seem like something that people should get too worried about.
      • "While all that might be true, it doesn't change the fact there's some sort of contract between the two."

        I would think it would affect the damages a hell of a lot. Since the monetary damage for using a trademark from a company nobody has heard from for decades must be nearly zero.

        Maybe that should be another area of reform for Copyright/Trademark/Patent, namely a license to an IP right automatically doesn't extend beyond the IP right it licenses.

        IANAL
    • 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 StinkyPinky (965500) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:14AM (#15045608)
    I wonder if Fiona Apple will be made to change her name some time soon.
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:16AM (#15045611) Homepage
    Most record companies have welcomed iTunes, because -- unlike pirate music sites -- it protects their copyright and collects a fee. But the Apple vs. Apple dispute means that no Beatles music is available on iTunes.

    "We haven't unfortunately been able to persuade Apple Corps in relation to their Beatles catalogue," said Grabiner. "But we have persuaded everybody else."


    This dispute has nothing to do with Beatles music being on iTunes. The Beatles music is not available via any digital store, iirc. Yes, a few of the German Tony Sheridan tracks, and 'interview' tracks, but that's about it. The major catalog is not available through any digital download means, not just iTunes. If the Beatles were trying to get back (heh) at Apple Computer, they'd license their material to Napster, or MSN, or Yahoo, or some competing network.

    The Beatles have historically been 'behind the times' technologically, what we might call 'late adopters'. For example, their catalog wasn't available on CD until 1987 - years after CDs were accepted as mainstream. Even going back to the 60's, they were one of the last major bands to 'upgrade' to 8 track recording, having recorded practically their entire career on 4 track recording, even though 8 track recording was certainly available earlier.

    As an aside, I find it a bit funny that people accuse the Beatles of 'cashing in' every so often. While I certainly feel that way myself occasionally, I have to remind myself there's a lot of opportunity they're sitting on which they could still release and all the hardcore fans and baby boomers would still eat it up. I think they've shown a fair amount of restraint so far. I'm thinking of the hours of live concert footage which is available, for example - there's probably another DVD or two which could be put out, plus remastering all the old albums . Witness the Yellow Submarine remaster - *much* better sounding than the original CD - they could reissue all the original CDs and make still millions more, but haven't (yet?) done so. Maybe they never will?
    • Hey now, don't forget the Russian Mafia. Allofmp3.com has had The Beatles [allofmp3.com] for a while now; though I'm not sure if a quasi-legal download site really counters your statement that they're not available through digital download. Allof is certainly doing it without permission, but that's a whole other debate.
    • This dispute has nothing to do with Beatles music being on iTunes. The Beatles music is not available via any digital store

      In 2003, Apple Corps indicated they had no plans to make Beatles available online [bbc.co.uk]. The foolishness of this anti-digital stance was summarised quite succintly here [macobserver.com]:

      The Beatles seem almost intent on relegating their incredible legacy to irrelevancy. Unlike the move to CDs, which The Beatles deftly milked for all it was worth, what The Beatles are doing now is ensuring that the only way to
    • Are they really 'late adopters', or are they just resisting the new technology?

      From what I remember in the early 80's, they thought the quality of CDs was 'inferior' to the quality of vinyl. Many audiophiles had/have this opinion.

      From the lawsuits against Apple, copywright Apple Corp's statements about "online music" and their reluctance to make any music available online makes me think that they really just fear the loss of control over their own music.

      They make millions every year just from the royalties
    • by asv108 (141455)
      The Beatles have historically been 'behind the times' technologically, what we might call 'late adopters'. For example, their catalog wasn't available on CD until 1987 - years after CDs were accepted as mainstream.

      Cd's were hardly mainstream in 1987. There were pricey toys. It wasn't until 1988/1989 that CD's became the mainstream format.

    • by FlunkedFlank (737955) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:21PM (#15046293)
      This dispute has nothing to do with Beatles music being on iTunes. The Beatles music is not available via any digital store, iirc. Yes, a few of the German Tony Sheridan tracks, and 'interview' tracks, but that's about it. The major catalog is not available through any digital download means, not just iTunes. If the Beatles were trying to get back (heh) at Apple Computer, they'd license their material to Napster, or MSN, or Yahoo, or some competing network.

      Yep, in fact it goes much deeper than that. The reason they're not on iTunes has nothing at all to do with the agreement between Apple Corps and Apple Computer, it has to do with the agreement between Apple Corps and EMI, who own the rights to the recordings of all Beatles songs. Here's the deal: Neil Aspinall, the man who pretty much is Apple Corps, believes that the contract between Apple Corps and EMI does not give EMI digital distribution rights. Their contract is so old that it contains no clauses (in his opinion) that would grant them such rights. In other words, Neal Aspinall wants to be able to put the Beatles songs online directly licensed from Apple Corps, bypassing EMI completely, with the proceeds going 100% to Apple Corps. But EMI won't go down without a fight, and some people believe that if he makes such a move it could be one of the biggest legal battles in the history of the music industry. (EMI believes that the contract language added to allow them sell CDs does include digital distribution rights.) A lot would be at stake, because if Apple won then it could open the floodgates for tons of older bands to examine their contracts and fight for full digital rights because of muddy or unclear contract language. In any case, Aspinall is in no rush. He doesn't want to take on the fight just yet, but also doesn't want to conceed anything yet by signing off on digital rights.

      (This information was described in an article about Neil Aspinall that I read at some point last year, I think in Blender magazine.)
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:27AM (#15045651)
    We know the difference. The whole world knows the difference. Apple Corp==music catalog. Apple Computer==computers, software, and media/content.

    The point is moot, but Apple Corps will try to extract some fake fealty from Apple Computer.

    The lawyers win. We don't.

    Maybe Disney should by Apple Corps.... all in the family, then.
    • We know the difference. The whole world knows the difference. Apple Corp==music catalog. Apple Computer==computers, software, and media/content.

      "We" as in technology savvy people know the difference. What if you have some technophobe guy who grew up on the Beatles and Apple records who stumbles on iTunes and sees "Apple"? The first thing he's going to think of is Apple Records, because, duh, he's looking at music. He'll assume that Apple Records started the web site and is licensing music from other label

      • Instead, iTunes commands a dominant marketshare, an Apple product. The Beatles (and other artists represented by Apple Corps) used to have quite a marketshare. Time marches on for the Apple Corp catalog. Apple makes products in numerous markets. A specious 3% citation serves no purpose except to cough a number that looks like the damn lie of statistics. If you're quoting Gartner or another one of the wooly analyst firms, I'll question you still further.

        Sure, there can be nominal confusion. But Apple Records
    • We know the difference. The whole world knows the difference. Apple Corp==music catalog. Apple Computer==computers, software, and media/content.

      Apple Computer [apple.com] has a website, Apple Corps [applecorps.com] does not. *boggles*
  • by KU_Fletch (678324) <bthomas1NO@SPAMku.edu> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @10:32AM (#15045678)
    Go open iTMS right now. There is no Apple logo anywhere on the front page or any of their other pre-produced pages. Good thing we need a lawsuit to clear up the status quo.
    • Go open iTMS right now. There is no Apple logo anywhere on the front page or any of their other pre-produced pages. Good thing we need a lawsuit to clear up the status quo.

      Are you basis this on what a Mac advocate told you, sure you have not actually run iTunes? After launching iTunes and selecting the Music Store I find a big black Apple logo.
      • Technically, the GP is correct; there is no Apple logo on any of the pages. Yes, the browser/interface does contain the logo, just like every other browser has an identity logo.

        I realize that you can not view any iTMS pages in other browsers. And I realize that the iTMS browser does not allow any content other than Apple's.

        It seems like the logo placement is very relevant to this case, and I can't imagine this technical distinction not being made in court.

        From what I've read, this case seems to hinge more o

    • And yet the interface (iTunes) most everyone uses to access the store as well as the hardware they play the music on prominently display the Apple logo.
  • 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 zakezuke (229119) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:00AM (#15045763)
    I'm actually surprised that Mcintoshlabs never took exception to apple's use of the brand "Macintosh" that i've been made aware of. Slashdot users who are unaware Mcintosh is a brand name for highfi equipment. To me it's the same issue with apple records, sort of a problem before Apple got into audio, but huge confusion after apple got into audio.
  • Why doesn't Apple Computers change to strictly "Mac" terminology? It's not like they're using all different apple names in their products (Granny Smith, Red Delicious, etc).

    • Re:"MacTunes" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by artemis67 (93453) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:14PM (#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 yardbird (165009) * on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:03AM (#15045773) Homepage
    Looks pretty close. [googlefight.com]

    Oh wait, no it doesn't. [googlefight.com]
  • 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.
  • Now that the two Apples are dueling it out, what's next? Let me guess, I can't listen to the White Album on my (black) iPod nano? Hmm, as soon as I can find someone to keep saying “number nine... number nine...” we'll have to show them what a revolution really looks like!
  • by Spudley (171066) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:30AM (#15045871) Homepage Journal
    Since nothing else really interesting is happening...

    That's because all the interesting news happened yesterday. :-D
  • by nyquil superstar (249173) <aaron@NOSPAM.snowcrest.net> on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:30AM (#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.
  • Well, just a hypothetical question: in a lawsuit in London, what do you think who has more chance to win: someone who has the music of the Beatles, or someone from overseas "trying to steal their name" ? I guess another out of court cash agreement is more likely again.
     
  • Since nothing else really interesting is happening....

    And he wonders why people complain about story quality. Here's a hint for some extra material. Search user journals for "rejected submission".
  • by LootenPlunder (941724) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @11:53AM (#15045968)
    I just came up with the most amazing idea. There are clearly no damages to apple corp in this case, itunes only benefits from using apple computer's reputation, apple corp is as irrelevant as can be. Yet apple corp has already managed to squeeze a bit of money out of apple comp. Clearly the only things that determine whether or not you win a case are the size of your target and the amount of publicity you get. So I am going to start a company that tries to predeict what software companies are going to name future releases of their software. We will also try to predict what businisses will be computerized next and strategically name a company so that by the time apple, microsoft, google, yahoo, or whoever comes around, there will already be a company in that field with their name attatched to it. Then we'll sue major companies and pay off the press to print front-page articles about our cases. I'll be rich. Imagine if Blinds-to-go had changed its name to Windows 2000 in 1999. Our first projects will be Vista Records, Vista Productions, Vista Search, etc. Maybe we're too late to take advantage of Vista, but its worth a try.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @12:39PM (#15046129)
    ...but they are still a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. There's plenty of mindless law out there. Legal and Rational are independent sets that only sometimes overlap. This is a shakedown.

    What Apple Computer should do is ally themselves with Gene Simmons. Gene could then unleash the KISS Army against Apple Corp, and it would all be over real quick.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:44PM (#15046373) Homepage
    ...more modern... more snappy. How about Snapple? That would get them right out of this frying pan, wouldn't it?

  • by cyphercell (843398) on Sunday April 02, 2006 @01:52PM (#15046400) Homepage Journal
    In other news the Marine Corps http://www.usmc.mil/ [usmc.mil] is expected to sue http://www.marine-electronics.net/ [marine-electronics.net] Marine-Electronics for using the word "Marine" and logos that relate to water. The Marine corps had sated in an earlier suit that Marine Electronics was not allowed to enter the water.

    (not only funny but, insightful too)

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

Working...