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3/27/2006
09:40 PM
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Beatles Say iTunes Is Bad 'Apple'

A new lawsuit marks the third time the company that holds rights to Beatles music has taken Steve Jobs' company to court over its name.

Apple Computer Inc. is on the defensive in Europe for the second time in as many weeks as the company prepares to battle The Beatles' record label in the United Kingdom's highest court for its right to distribute music online.

Apple will go before a judge in London this week to determine whether iTunes online music violates an agreement the company made with Apple Corps, which claims the service infringes on a15-year-old agreement. It is the third time the company that holds rights to Beatles music has taken Steve Jobs' company to court over its name.

The suit seeks an injunction on Apple's music sales and compensation for past sales. Though some media have reported both talks of a settlement are already in the works, neither company has released a statement on the topic. Representatives from the Apple companies could not be reached Monday.

The British company first sued the computer maker over the Apple name 15 years ago and settled for $80,000 and an agreement the computer company would avoid the music business. Eight years later, the company sued again when Macs became tools for recording and mixing music files. Again, the California company settled with the U.K. company - this time paying more than $25 million and agreeing not to distribute compact discs or other music recordings.

Now, the question is: Does that agreement apply to online music file transfers?

The battle is the second front that opened in Apple's European operations in two weeks. Last week, the lower house of French parliament passed a bill that would require all music files to be interoperable. Apple is fighting that file sharing and copyright protection bill as it makes its way to the French Senate and threatening to pull out of France if the bill becomes law.

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