Apple beats Apple over music rights

Written by Brett Thomas

May 8, 2006 | 14:50

Tags: #beatles #computer #ipod #judge #mac #records #steve-jobs

Companies: #apple

We figured we'd take a moment to throw you some 'Wacky but true' news. In a suit that could honestly be one of the strangest trademark squabbles ever, the legendary Beatles have sued Apple Computer over iTunes... because it has an apple in the logo.

Fans of the fab four will probably know that the Beatles created their own recording label, Apple Records. Many of their compilation albums (as well as remastered original albums) feature a bright green apple on the CD cover. When they designed the trademark, the Beatles wanted it to be "the only apple in the music business."

Apple's iTunes and the iPod logos both feature the Macintosh apple we all know and love (or hate...) in their advertisements. Apparently the Beatles thought this was a bit too close to their apple, and sued the computer company last year.

In fact, this is the second time such a dispute has been attempted, with the two parties coming to a comfortable agreement back in 1991 that Apple Computer would use its logo only in the computer industry. At that time, the Beatles had taken the position that any use of an apple as a trademark was actually associating that product with their music, which they may not wish to endorse.

However, with Apple expanding into music through iTunes, the Beatles went after them again last year for breach of their original 1991 agreement.

Of course, the courts thought this to be almost as nonsensical as we did, and have officially ruled in favor of Apple Computer. In the judgement, the courts took the position that "the use of the apple logo is a fair and reasonable use of the mark in connection with the service, which does not go further and unfairly or unreasonably suggest an additional association with the creative works themselves."

Of course, you can read more at the Beeb.

Got a thought on the battle of the apples? Maybe a favorite apple (Granny Smith, Macintosh, Sergeant Pepper)? Let us know in our forums.
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