USA Today Delves Into Beatles/Apple Lawsuit

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USA Today has delved into the Beatles vs. Apple lawsuit. While the article doesnit add much to the coverage from several sources last week, it does include some comment from industry watchers that may be of interest to Apple watchers.

The articleis basic point is to rehash rumors that entertainment magazine Variety floated last week. The entertainment magazine reported that The Beatles and Apple were close to a settlement, and that industry speculation was that the settlement might include Sir Paul McCartney joining Appleis board of directors (see TMOis full coverage for more information on Varietyis article and other background information on the lawsuit).

The article offers comment from a trademark specialist and a researcher for GartnerG2 on the case. From USA Today:

"It seems that Apple Computeris in a pretty tough spot, since they signed a prior settlement agreement," says Houston lawyer David OiNeil, a trademark specialist with OiNeil and McConnell. "Thatis why the settlement numbers are going to be so big. They promised to stay out of the music business, and they didnit."

OiNeil sees as natural any talks aimed at getting the Beatles catalog onto iTunes. Apple Corps is "in a perfect position to get the best price for their music," because it has the upper hand over Apple Computer "for violating their agreement."

Mike McGuire, research director for industry tracker GartnerG2, says the expected multimillion-dollar settlement "shows you what the stakes are in the digital music business."

In addition, USA Today throws some additional speculation into its coverage -- similar to speculation we raised in The Spin of last weekis article -- that a settlement could include The Beatles licensing their catalog to Apple for the iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

On a minor note, we should also note a small mistake made i the article. USA Today says:

When Apple Computer began selling music software in 1989, Apple Corps again sued, and the settlement cost the computer company $26.5 million. Apple Computer agreed not to use the trademark in music-related activities. But Apple Corps filed suit again last year when the computer company launched its iTunes Music Store. (The URL www.applemusic.com takes users to an iTunes page.)

Apple was not selling "music software" in 1989, but rather Macs capable of playing music, and that was the source of renewed legal friction between the two companies at that time.

You can find more of USA Todayis coverage at the newspaperis Web site.

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