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What Happens When Apples Collide?


cdanteek

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March 27, 2006 6:34PM

 

http://www.toptechnews.com/story.xhtml?story_id=13000003A7E6

 

Apple Computer said it did not know how long the case might run before the High Court in London. This is the third time the two companies have sparred in as many decades. Apple Corps first sued Apple Computer in 1980 over the use of its name; a modest settlement was accompanied by an agreement that stipulated the Silicon Valley startup would stay out of the music business.

 

Apple Computer will meet the Beatles' Apple Corps in court this week in London, where a judge will determine whether Apple Computer's iTunes online music service violates a 1991 agreement between the two companies that supposedly blocked the computer maker from selling music.

Apple Corps, which represents the Beatles' business interests and markets their post-1968 recordings, wants the computer firm to stop using the "Apple" trademark to sell recordings online and it requests unspecified damages.

 

The maker of Macintosh personal computers and iPods says the agreement permits using the Apple name to sell online data transfers, which are what downloaded songs amount to.

 

The judge hearing the case, Justice Edward Mann, has admitted to being an iPod user, but neither side has asked him to recuse himself on account of this.

 

Apple Computer said it did not know how long the case might run before the High Court in London. This is the third time the two companies have sparred in as many decades. Apple Corps first sued Apple Computer in 1980 over the use of its name; a modest settlement was accompanied by an agreement that stipulated the Silicon Valley startup would stay out of the music business.

 

In 1989, after newer hardware and software made it easier to use Macintosh computers to synthesize sound, the Beatles' company sued again, resulting in a $26.5 million settlement in 1991 that left Macs able to edit and play back sound files but not create music. After the launching of the iTunes Music Store and software in April 2003, the record company filed suit a third time.

 

Apple Corps has reissued original Beatles recordings on CD, as well as issuing a DVD of George Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh. Apple Corps has made no effort to sell music online, and none of the Beatles' recordings are available yet for legal downloading .

 

Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, has made no secret of his love for the Beatles' music, but all sides have so far denied rumors of a potential settlement that would allow iTunes to begin selling the Beatles' songs online.

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