For Apple and the Beatles the time has come for the showdown in court. The week that opens today, in fact, that of the beginning of the process that put the two counterparts in front of the others on the case of the musical breakthrough undertaken by Cupertino.
The story has roots far back in time, back to the 1980s when Apple decided to take on the name it bears today and that was the same as that of the "fab four" production company (Apple Corps) that used an apple logo (a Granny Smith, to be precise) since 1968. The musical complex asked for the change of the brand, settling for $ 80,000 in compensation and forcing Jobs and members to stay away from the musical universe, assuming the commitment of never having anything to dealing with information technology.
But if it was not difficult for Apple of the Beatles to maintain its commitment, history has shown that for a computer company it is really difficult to have nothing to do with music.
Apple has already paid (26 million dollars) once the transgression, when its QuickTime assumed the ability to "play". On that occasion, the fundamental rules of the separation of areas were established. The Beatles record company was allowed to operate in the field of goods and services used to reproduce, listen to and distribute music content, Apple Corporation was specifically prohibited from distributing "content on physical media".
On this aspect, the Times On Line reveals, the legal battle will be focused. Apple will try to prove that iTunes is a data distribution service and that the iPod is a data storage system. Apple Corps will attempt to show that digital music and the systems used to listen to it are a simple evolution of physical media, CDs, and audio cassettes.
The process will begin on Wednesday. According to The Times, the current owners of Apple Corps (Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the latter heirs of the late John Lennon and George Harrison) will not be present at the trial. Among the witnesses there will be for Neil Aspinall, the managing director of the company and Eddy Cue, the manager in charge of the iTunes sector.
If the court were to agree with the Beatles the compensation, given the business generated by iTunes, could be in the order of tens of millions of pounds.