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Round 3: Apple to battle Apple in court this week

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
For the third time in as many decades, Beatles-owned Apple Corps will duke it out against Apple Computer in court over the latter's rights to do business within the music industry.

As reported by TimesOnline, the two companies will meet in London's High Court on Wednesday, over charges brought by Apple Corps that Apple Computer's iTunes and iTunes Music Store software is in violation of the terms of a previous agreement between the two companies.

Apple Corps is claiming that the introduction of iTunes broke a $26 million settlement from 1991 under which Apple Computer agreed to steer clear of the music business, for which the Beatles company retains the famous trademark.

Any damages for this latest clash could amount to tens of millions of pounds, speculates TimesOnline, because it concerns Apple Computers hugely successful iTunes Music Store and iPod digital music players.

The Beatles first used a logo of a Granny Smith in 1968 when they founded the Apple Corps -- which is still active today -- to distribute their records and those of other artists they signed to the Apple record label, the report notes. The records had a ripe apple on one side and a neatly sliced half on the reverse.

Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs founded his company in 1976 with a logo of a rainbow-colored apple and was sued five years later by Apple Corps. Jobs and Co. agreed to pay the Beatle's company an $80,000 settlement and promised to stay out of the music business.

In 1989, the companies clashed again after Apple Computer introduced a music-making program. The dispute ended in 1991 with the computer company agreeing to $26 million settlement. As part of the deal, Apple Corps was awarded rights to the name on creative works whose principal content is music while Apple Computer was allowed goods and services . . . used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content.

Critically, the agreement prevents Apple Computer from distributing content on physical media, note TimesOnline. At the time, this was designed to cover CDs and tapes, but it is unclear whether it was meant to cover later inventions such as digital music files or devices used to play them.

Apple Computer is expected to argue that its iTunes service is merely data transmission.
post #2 of 42
Lets not have confused customers out there. "Oh no! Which Apple is it?! I can buy till I know for sure."
post #3 of 42
I would love to give a copy of the agreement to my wife, who as an attorney, and Senior Vice President for CitiGroup, deals with trademark, copyright, and patent issues all the time. But, I haven't found one online. If someone has, please post a link.

Otherwise, from what I've been reading everywhere, it seems to be 50 50. The consensus seems to be that it hinges on the question of whether distribution electronically can be a violation of the "physical media" clause. If the original agreement was meant to cover all means of distribution, but only mentioned the ones that were available then, it could go against Apple Computer.

But, one thing I remembered, that, so far, no one else has mentioned anywhere else, is that Apple sold the U2 iPod that contained their songs. That could be a violation, as those songs were distributed on a physical media, a hard drive.
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
But, one thing I remembered, that, so far, no one else has mentioned anywhere else, is that Apple sold the U2 iPod that contained their songs. That could be a violation, as those songs were distributed on a physical media, a hard drive.

The U2 iPod did *not* contain their songs. It came with a $50-off coupon towards purchasing "The Complete U2" at the iTunes Music Store.
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by radiospace
The U2 iPod did *not* contain their songs. It came with a $50-off coupon towards purchasing "The Complete U2" at the iTunes Music Store.

Are you sure? I seem to remember that it did come with some.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Are you sure? I seem to remember that it did come with some.

Since I didn't buy one I can't say 100% what came on it, but I did research purchasing one and that's my recollection. I'm sure it didn't come with The Complete U2; if it came with their last album (...atomic bomb), installed, that would surprise me, but it would obviously be a potentially significant error given their reported agreement with Apple Records.
post #7 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Are you sure? I seem to remember that it did come with some.

If Apple had put the songs already on the iPod itself, they would have been wiped when the iPod synced with another iTunes library.
post #8 of 42
I get the feeling that this case would have been dismissed as ludicrously frivilous if the Brits weren't still so fucking enamored with the Beatles.

Now, I generally find English to be a pretty good bunch, but the Beatles worship is too much.
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post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider

In 1989, the companies clashed again after Apple Computer introduced a music-making program. The dispute ended in 1991 with the computer company agreeing to $26 million settlement. As part of the deal, Apple Corps was awarded rights to the name on creative works whose principal content is music while Apple Computer was allowed goods and services . . . used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content.

That seems like a perfect centerpiece for Apple Computer's argument. iPod + iTunes is nothing more than a delivery system and the iPod plays it.
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post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by radiospace
Since I didn't buy one I can't say 100% what came on it, but I did research purchasing one and that's my recollection. I'm sure it didn't come with The Complete U2; if it came with their last album (...atomic bomb), installed, that would surprise me, but it would obviously be a potentially significant error given their reported agreement with Apple Records.

I'm pretty sure that it came with some of their songs. I seem to remember that as being a point in the ads. It was likely from their album at the time.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by jdbartlett
If Apple had put the songs already on the iPod itself, they would have been wiped when the iPod synced with another iTunes library.

That's not exactly a problem. Even if that were true, Apple could have simply given the codes to download them from iTunes. No big deal.
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I'm pretty sure that it came with some of their songs. I seem to remember that as being a point in the ads. It was likely from their album at the time.

It didn't come with songs pre-loaded.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
I get the feeling that this case would have been dismissed as ludicrously frivilous if the Brits weren't still so fucking enamored with the Beatles.

Now, I generally find English to be a pretty good bunch, but the Beatles worship is too much.

What does this have to do with the British? The former Beatles, and their representatives, are the ones suing. Besides, it might not be frivolous.

Even the judge pointed out that he is a music lover, and uses an iPod.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
It didn't come with songs pre-loaded.

Do you have info on that? Or are you also going by memory?
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Do you have info on that? Or are you also going by memory?

You can still buy it. Look for it at Amazon.com. It comes with a coupon. As jdbartlett said above, it doesn't make sense to include songs on the iPod.

Here's the closest I could find to the agreement. It probably doesn't have every word, but it appears to have most of it.

This appears to be a key paragraph in Apple Computer's favor:

...
The parties acknowledge that certain goods and services within the Apple Computer Field of Use are capable of delivering content within the Apple Corps Field of Use. In such case, even though Apple Corps shall have the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the Apple Corps Marks on or in connection with content within subsection 1.3(i) or (ii), Apple Computer shall have the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with goods or services within subsection 1.2 (such as software, hardware or broadcasting services) used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content provided it shall not use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with physical media delivering pre-recorded content within subsection 1.3(i) or (ii) (such as a compact disc of the Rolling Stones music).
...
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Do you have info on that? Or are you also going by memory?

Does this thread or this report count? How about the fact that iPods do not allow you to transfer their music to computers? So if they were to simply pre-load the songs on the iPod, you'd never be able to have backups on your Mac or PC. There'd be no point to pre-loading if you need to download them from ITMS into your computer sooner or later anyway.
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
I get the feeling that this case would have been dismissed as ludicrously frivilous if the Brits weren't still so fucking enamored with the Beatles.

Now, I generally find English to be a pretty good bunch, but the Beatles worship is too much.

Guilty! This place is definitely hooked on Beatlemania nostalgia, which for the increasing number of us who were never alive in the 60's is confusing and quite depressing at times...

As for the case though, I have to agree with the other poster who mentioned this: Beatles nor otherwise, this is a valid case between two companies who've both substantial pretentions to the music industry and trade by practically identical names. The Beatles angle makes it a newsworthy story here (or will do once it starts later in the week) but anyone who follows Apple would be following this anyway no matter who had formed the "prior fruit", so to speak.

I'm no expert but does anyone know why an English company calling itself Apple can cause trouble for a later American company doing the same thing? Is there a worldwide register of company names or something like that? Or just the kind of grey area lawyers ply their trade in?
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Kolchak
Does this thread or this report count? How about the fact that iPods do not allow you to transfer their music to computers? So if they were to simply pre-load the songs on the iPod, you'd never be able to have backups on your Mac or PC. There'd be no point to pre-loading if you need to download them from ITMS into your computer sooner or later anyway.

Ok, that's good. I do remember something about it though. After reading that thread, it could be that we thought it would be included on the machine, as some posters there did.

I did answer the second part about pre-loading, though. Apple could give coupons to download them as well.

Some companies do sell iPods with pre-loaded music.
post #19 of 42
"Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keys"

Why can't we all just get along! Neither company needs the money, so just shake hands, a hug, and move on!

They are completely different companies! GET OVER IT!

'Love me do' in '62!
'Let it be' in '70!

I good little rhyme that says alot!
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post #20 of 42
"Apple Computer shall have the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with goods or services within subsection 1.2 (such as software, hardware or broadcasting services) used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content provided it shall not use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with physical media delivering pre-recorded content within subsection 1.3(i) or (ii)"

I've been thinking along these lines, and I've come up with an interesting idea as to why Apple might not be able to adhere to the French law.

Look at what this says at the end:

"otherwise deliver such content provided it shall not use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with physical media delivering pre-recorded content within subsection 1.3(i) or (ii)"

It's possible that from this agreement, Apple might not be allowed to have others use Fairplay, or to transfer tunes bought from iTunes to other players, as that would be "authorise(ing) others to use the Apple Computer Marks"
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
"Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keys"

Why can't we all just get along! Neither company needs the money, so just shake hands, a hug, and move on!

They are completely different companies! GET OVER IT!

'Love me do' in '62!
'Let it be' in '70!

I good little rhyme that says alot!

Yeah, but when it's YOUR money (in the generic sense, I don't mean you), it's different.

When it's someone else's money, it's easy.
post #22 of 42
Sosumi battles the pinko rollators

(Yes. This one took some time to compose )
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post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Sosumi battles the pinko rollators

(Yes. This one took some time to compose )

Sigh!
post #24 of 42
Hey. A lot of work went into that one
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post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Hey. A lot of work went into that one

I could tell!
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by radiospace
The U2 iPod did *not* contain their songs. It came with a $50-off coupon towards purchasing "The Complete U2" at the iTunes Music Store.

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions. You are correct on this.

I own the U2 iPod. No songs were preloaded, nor was I under the impression that they were included when I ordered it. The product descriptions were pretty specific that it was a $50 off coupon for the "Digital Box Set", but descriptions in the press and even Mac-fan web sites generally got this detail wrong. That coupon was redeemed and downloaded through iTMS. I have no idea what a digital box is.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Yeah, but when it's YOUR money (in the generic sense, I don't mean you), it's different.

When it's someone else's money, it's easy.

What money? Let's get down to the reality here: who in their right mind would confuse Apple Records with the iTunes music store?

Or I guess the other argument is: does the iTunes music store benefit from the reputation Apple Records has built? Not in my mind. Other than die-hard Beatles fans, who even knows about Apple Records nowadays?

So what money is there to be lost/made? Perhaps through the rose colored, tunnel vision glasses of the law you can see some sort of money loss/gain scenario here, but any rational human being certainly can't.
 
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post #28 of 42
AT this point I suspect Apple would better serve their investors to just purchase Apple Corps outright. Between court costs and a the likely settlement, it probably wouldn't be that much of a premium. As an added bonus Apple would then presumably have exclusive domain over selling the Beatles catalog online.
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
What does this have to do with the British? The former Beatles, and their representatives, are the ones suing. Besides, it might not be frivolous.

Even the judge pointed out that he is a music lover, and uses an iPod.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems pretty damn obvious that the precedent set in a previous case covers this one. In other words, this case is one involving minutia in an attempt to siphon some cash or to make a headline.
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post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by auxio
What money? Let's get down to the reality here: who in their right mind would confuse Apple Records with the iTunes music store?

Or I guess the other argument is: does the iTunes music store benefit from the reputation Apple Records has built? Not in my mind. Other than die-hard Beatles fans, who even knows about Apple Records nowadays?

So what money is there to be lost/made? Perhaps through the rose colored, tunnel vision glasses of the law you can see some sort of money loss/gain scenario here, but any rational human being certainly can't.

I was replying to another post.

It has nothing to do with confusing the two anymore, though it might have been in the '70's. It's the fact that an agreement was made, and might have been broken.

The money has to do with the fact that those who control Apple Records don't want to let this go. Paul, Ringo, Harrison's wife, Ono, and Aspinall see a chance of making some good money out of this.

Anyone here would likely do the same if they were in their position.
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Sosumi battles the pinko rollators

That sounds familiar... oh yes, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
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post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
That sounds familiar... oh yes, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Finally someone got it (rollators being the remaining members of Beatles of course)
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post #33 of 42
Wow.. talk about greed...

I mean, what happened, all of a sudden the licensing of Beatles music just isnt enough?

Hey Apple Corps... FUCK YOU
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post #34 of 42
I know it has no bearing on the case, but what has Apple(misic) done in the last 20 years? cash checks? sell the same cuts on a differant media (ala 8track/vinal->cassette->CD->DVD-A)?

Does apple have new artists? studios? you know, an acctual business model? or is it just a corprate frontend to distribute royalties to the Beatles?

The beatles music speaks for its self, they dont need a lable with a major name, if apple corps changed their name to banana-fo-fana-dingdong, no one would notice, the music would still be the same, Apple records isnt a brand, the Beatles are the brand.
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post #35 of 42
Yes, phony beatlemania has most certainly bitten the dust.

I understand the perspective of "breach of agreement", but there is no copyright conflict here in my opinion, just a cash grab. While it may make business sense, it certainly doesn't make common sense.
 
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post #36 of 42
Looks like the Beatles want another slice of Apples pie. Remember those previous cases? Apple Computer was sued when it began to integrate technology to let Mac users attach external speakers to their computer. Apple Corps won that case, and received $50 million in reparation from Apple Computer. Legend has it that the Apple sound "Sosumi" was a sort of two fingered salute to the deal when Apple improved the sound capabilities of the Mac.

Apple Corps are just seeing more $$$ signs before their greedy eyes with this new case. Apple Computer are riding high at the moment and ripe for the picking (sorry for all the Apple puns). Everyone with half a brain can differentiate between the two companies. Apple Computer are not in the music business (hell, it's debatable wether Apple Corps are in the music business)!
post #37 of 42
If Apple had decided upon a name for itself that wasn't already being used then none of this would ever have happened. That's not The Beatles fault. The two companies came to an agreement in 1991, ten years later came the iPod, if Apple Corps feel that the terms of the agreement are being broken-are they not allowed to go back to court?

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post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Alex London
If Apple had decided upon a name for itself that wasn't already being used then none of this would ever have happened. That's not The Beatles fault. The two companies came to an agreement in 1991, ten years later came the iPod, if Apple Corps feel that the terms of the agreement are being broken-are they not allowed to go back to court?

Absolutely. But just because the actions of Apple Corps can be justified within the current copyright/trademark law system doesn't make it right. For all the singing/preaching the various Beatles members have done/currently do about making the world a better place, it turns out they're just another self-interested business entity after all.

And no, I don't own any Apple stock. I just happen to feel strongly that the Beatles don't deserve to keep getting money from Apple when there's no real conflict.
 
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post #39 of 42
Anyone know offhand what other artists are on the Apple Corps label? All I think of is The Beatles.

When this goes to court I hope that some headway is made. If all that happens is that the date is pushed back another 6 months I'm gonna scream!
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post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally posted by Xool
Anyone know offhand what other artists are on the Apple Corps label? All I think of is The Beatles.

Wikipedia List

I suppose Hot Chocolate is notable.
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