Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

2.5.07: Apple, Beatles come together

Posted by Richard Koman - February 5, 2007

Apple and Apple Corps - the Beatles' corporate entity - are finally ready to give peace a chance. Under a new agreement, Apple owns all trademarks related to "Apple" and will license some trademarks back to Apple Corps, The Times reports.

The Beatles have long been antsy about Apple's use of the fruit - a 1991 agreement forbid Apple from entering the music business - and when Apple started distributing music through iTunes, the Beatles filed suit.

Following a victory for Apple Inc. last May, in which a British judge ruled Apple's use of its famous apple logo was "fair and reasonable," it appears the Beatles were finally ready to try to see it Steve's way.

“We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks,” said Steve Jobs. ... “It is great to put this dispute behind us and move on,” Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps, said in a statement. “The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us.”

At any rate the speculation is that Beatles music will now be available on iTunes, which would be a huge publicity hit - and no doubt a financial win too - for Apple.

Elizabeth Freund, a spokeswoman for Apple Corps, said the settlement had no bearing on any move to make Beatles music available on iTunes, saying that was a separate matter for the Beatles to discuss with EMI, which holds the rights to the Beatles’ recordings.

A spokeswoman at EMI, where digital sales of Beatles songs could be a lucrative source of income, declined to comment on whether or when that might happen.

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