The Beatles’ record label Apple Corps is suing Apple computers for breaching a 1991 agreement by selling music online, and will fight its case in London this week. Amusingly, the judge presiding over the case, Justice Edward Mann, is an avid iPod user.
Apple Computer says the agreement allows for the sale of online data transfers. Thus, through the way iTunes works, it can evade that provision, it claims.
This is the third time that Apple Corp will be meeting Apple Computer in court. Apple Corps first sued Apple in 1980 over the use of the Apple name and logo to promote music products. The companies settled for a small sum and Apple agreed to stay out of the music business. In 1989, Apple Corps sued again over music software that enabled Macs to play and edit tracks.
The third suit against Apple’s iTunes began in 2003.
Apple Corps which take care of all of the Beatles’ recordings seems rather quick to sue Apple Computer for anything musically related, however Apple Corps has no online presence at all. Beatles tracks are nowhere to be found on any music service.
Rumours have repeatedly surfaced that the two sides were aiming to settle and allow Beatles tracks to make their way onto iTunes. However, both companies deny any talks.
Some analysts feel that the case could have consequences that reach throughout the media industry. Part of that belief is due to how the scene for downloading music and video content has changed since Apple launched iTunes.
Apple shares fell 45 cents to close Monday at $59.51