The Beatles, iTunes Music Store, Apple Computer, & Apple Corps

Fox News has published a story by Roger Friedman dealing with Apple Computer and the Beatles. The story deals with The Beatlesi music company known as Apple Corps, Ltd., and the well-known lawsuit between the Beatles and Apple Computer that resulted in a US$26 million payment to The Beatles and a promise not go into the music business. The story also touches specifically on why The Beatlesi songs are not currently found on Appleis new iTunes Music Store (iMS). From the report:

One might assume that the exclusion of Beatles songs from the Apple iTunes Music Store library has something to do with this. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a few other acts have so far not agreed to be part of the service, which charges 99 cents per song.

Of course, the Beatles arenit part of any legal downloading service. They have always been wary of new technology as it affects royalties. For example, they didnit issue CDs until 1987, five years after the format debuted in North America.

A source at their very tony British law firm, Eversheds, says not to read anything into this. "Thereis no particular reason the Beatles arenit in iTunes. Theyire not on any service," he says.

The story also suggests that The Beatles might possibly sue Apple over the iMS, though such an event is not portrayed as inevitable:

Nick Valner , the Beatlesi attorney at Eversheds, was away and did not return calls this week. But Apple Corps, which operates in secrecy (its number is unlisted and no oneis allowed to give it out), I am told, has been "in meetings" as the Apple Computer story progresses in the newspapers.

Valner does not hesitate to move against infringers of the Beatle trademark and neither do the other Beatle lawyers. Theyive sued over not only domain names but also unauthorized use of the Apple logo.

One lawyer whois worked on Beatles cases for 20 years told me: "They are very vigilant about pursuing these things." The question now is how vigilant the Beatles will be concerning Apple Computeris new business interests.

There is a lot more information in the full story, and we recommend it as an interesting read.