Apple Says Beatles' Agreement Narrow - InformationWeek

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4/3/2006
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Apple Says Beatles' Agreement Narrow

The music firm claims the computer company agreed 15 years ago to stay out of the music business, while the computer company claims iTunes sells digital files and therefore doesn't infringe on an agreement it characterizes as "narrow."

Apple Computer Inc. argued that surviving members of the band are losing out on opportunities while their company Apple Corps refuses to license The Beatles' songs to iTunes. The company also argued that a 1991 agreement allows the computer company to broadcast.

The U.K. High Court case marks the third time the music company has sued Apple Computer in territorial disputes. The first two lawsuits were settled out of court with cash payments and an agreement about what exactly the two Apple-named companies can market.

Apple Corps formed by The Beatles nearly 40 years ago. Band members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, own the music company. Apple Computer formed in 1976 and is owned by Steve Jobs, who has said he is a fan of The Beatles. In addition to sharing the word "Apple" as the main component of their names, the companies each use an image of an apple as their logo.

Apple Corps claims the computer company agreed 15 years ago to stay out of the music business, while the computer company claims that iTunes sells digital files and therefore doesn't infringe on an agreement it characterizes as "narrow."

A woman at Apple Corps' offices referred reporters to a phone number for a media relations company where no one answered Monday. Apple Corps appears to be using the fact that iTunes sells exclusive music online to build its case.

The trial is expected to end this week.

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