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Apple Inc. Inks Apple Corps Deal 176

Sometimes_Rational writes to mention Apple Inc. formerly (Apple Computer) has announced an agreement with The Beatles' company, Apple Corps Ltd. which settles the lawsuit brought by Apple Corps. Under the new agreement, "Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to 'Apple' and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. In addition, the ongoing trademark lawsuit between the companies will end, with each party bearing its own legal costs, and Apple Inc. will continue using its name and logos on iTunes. The terms of settlement are confidential."
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Apple Inc. Inks Apple Corps Deal

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  • by venicebeach ( 702856 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:07PM (#17893402) Homepage Journal
    I don't think that's related.

    Apple is a sponsor of the John Lennon songwriting competition and have provided some of the prizes. Seems to me like this predates the current trademark agreement, and Apple Records is not involved with this bus as far as I can tell.
  • by mbaudis ( 585035 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:08PM (#17893412) Homepage
    they settled the lawsuit, which means mutual benefit. no court decision. and no complaining about apple inc. lawyers - and they lost last tiome anyway.
  • Wrong! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:14PM (#17893498)
    "although Apple Inc. violated the terms of the original settlement by pushing first multimedia and then music"

    The British judge in the Apple Corps vs Apple Computer case found that Apple Computer DID NOT violate the terms of the 1991 agreement.

    The judge found that the computer company did not enter into the music business - they merely provided a vehicle to DISTRIBUTE music, not make it.

    The Apple Corps lawyers should have been more careful in drafting the words of the agreement.
  • Re:Beatles on iTMS? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Phat_Tony ( 661117 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:46PM (#17893980)
    By, "their music," you mean "Michael Jackson and Sony's [] music," right?

    Actually, I'm bit confused on the whole "Apple Records" vs. "Sony/Michael Jackson" thing and what the difference is between "ownership" and "publishing rights" for music. Anyone want to clear this up?
  • by Anonymous McCartneyf ( 1037584 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:57PM (#17894160) Homepage Journal
    Okay. The Beatles catalog is in Northernsongs, which is de facto owned by Sony unless Michael Jackson starts getting some financial sense. (The financial advice he took from Paul appears to be the last sound financial advice he ever took.) Apple Corp. does own something valuable, though--the Beatles recordings.
    To put it another way: if you wanted to record a cover of a Beatles song, or play one in public, you would need to contact Sony, Northernsongs division. If you wanted to use an actual Beatles recording--that is, one actually made by the Beatles--then you would need to contact Apple Corp.
  • by Anonymous McCartneyf ( 1037584 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:18PM (#17894412) Homepage Journal
    "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine" are not by the Beatles--but they are Apple Records productions. Apple Records does John Lennon's solo work, too.
  • by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:50PM (#17894902) Journal
    This isn't really a fair characterization of the "battle". Apple Corps existed long before Apple Computers. Apple Corps quite fairly wanted to make sure that this new computer company wasn't going to diminish the value of their name, and that they weren't going to try to compete in the same market (you only get those trademarks as long as you are willing to defend them). back in '80 ot whatever, they came to an agreement that Apple Inc would stay out of the music business. Well, technology marches on and by the end of the 80's computers are beginning inroads into the music industry. Apple Corps feels that Apple Inc is starting to encroach on their area of business, and the two again end up in court. The case is settled, with Apple Inc again agreeing they won't go into the content creation or distribution aspect of the music business. Then along comes iTunes, which is pretty clearly associated with selling music, if not exactly distributing it in the industry Label sense. Now, Apple Corps (from what I have read) had no objection whatsoever to iTunes; what they objected to was it being branded as Apple iTunes. iTunes is and was clearly associated with the music industry, and Apple Corps had a long-standing trademark on the Apple name within that industry. Unfortunately for Apple Corps, a judge decided that since iTunes isn't distributing music in the traditional sense (i.e., they don't sign artists to contracts for sole distribution of music) they aren't infringing the Apple trademark.

    This isn't about one company throwing their weight around, nor is it about Apple Corps getting what's coming to them. It is just a story of one company that owns a trademark becoming alarmed that another company seemed to be moving into their area of business while using essentially the same trademarked name. The newer company argued (apparently successfully) that they were not in fact violating the trademark, but they were apparently worried enough about it to purchase the trademark from Apple Corps, and license it back to them at some unknown rate (I'd guess they aren't charging anything - maybe an exclusive deal to release Apple Corps' collection on iTunes).

    As for all those that think the Apple Corps label has little value today... according to the Billboard Top 200 [], a brand new release from Apple Corps is currently at number 22, down from a peak of #4 (not to mention the 6 Beatles albums that have sold 10 million units or more). This is still an extremely valuable library, and I'm sure Apple Inc is eager to try and put a deal together to distribute their music through iTunes now that all the trademark stuff is finally over.
  • by amyhughes ( 569088 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @05:58PM (#17895966) Homepage
    I believe it has (almost from the start) been possible for independents to release music through iTunes. This is not the same as Apple signing them as a record company would, as it does not involve promotion or production, and does not result in a cherry-picking kind of screening, but it's still a way to get around the 69 cents thing. I believe Apple splits the difference with independents.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:45PM (#17896780)
    Who's confusing what? I never claimed the IP was the same, I just said that the small guys can win in court. Trademark disputes can sometimes be dicey, but considering they already have a contract that spells out exactly who can do what with the name "Apple", it's much more likely to be a contract dispute than even a trademark issue (they've danced this dance before).

    No one wants to fight, which is probably why they settled, but it's almost certainly because they made a mutually agreeable deal and NOT because they were quaking in their boots over being "crushed."
  • by robi2106 ( 464558 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:15PM (#17897286) Journal
    i am a videographer so this issue is something I have fought with for a while.

    Some of the best info about music copyright can be found here [] ( a site for video producers) because video productions require music (unless they are bad ones) and music on film / DVD / internet requires complicated licensing.

    Unless you go with royalty free productions straight from the producer / talent and bypass the label (if allowed by the artists contract).

  • by shawnce ( 146129 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:41PM (#17897624) Homepage

    Does the spare harddrive fall under iTunes's 5-computer limit, or is it free?
    The authorized computer limit only applies at time of playback. You can backup song files all you want.
  • by robi2106 ( 464558 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @04:09AM (#17901512) Journal
    to follow up.... in order to use music with a production (non-profit, profit, even person in home) involving visual media of any kind (slide show, movie, even just colors and splotches moving around) you are supposed to get no less than TWO licenses. A duplication license in order to store that music on a physical device, a mechanical license in order to mechanically sync the music to visuals, and possibly a royalty agreement on a per disc basis.

    that equals one HUGE pain in the butt for a producer.


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