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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Beatles sue Apple over iTunes
The Beatles
The Beatles' Apple Corps record label was set up in 1968
The Beatles' record label Apple Corps is suing Apple computers over the use of the Apple name and logo to promote music products.

The Apple Corps label says Apple computers' online music store iTunes - which charges people to download music from the internet - is in breach of a 1991 agreement between the two companies.

The London-based record firm, owned by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, has begun legal proceedings in the High Court.

It is not the first time the two companies have been involved in a legal wrangle, since Apple computers was founded in 1977.

This time Apple Corps is seeking damages and an injunction to enforce the terms of the deal.

'Differing interpretations'

In a statement, Apple Corps said: "The agreement was concerned with the future use of the name Apple and use of the companies' respective well-known logos of apples.

"Specifically, complaint is made over the use by Apple computers of the word Apple and apple logos in conjunction with its new application for downloading pre-recorded music from the internet."

The iTunes site currently has about 200,000 songs available after striking deals with various record labels, and has sold 10m downloads since it launched in April.

Katie Cotton, vice-president of worldwide communications for Apple Computers, said: "Over a decade ago, Apple signed an agreement with Apple Corps, a business controlled by the Beatles and their heirs, which specified the rights each company would have to use the Apple trademark.

"Unfortunately, Apple and Apple Corps now have differing interpretations of this agreement and will need to ask a court to resolve this dispute."

Apple's iTunes music store is central to Apple's strategy to promote its computers as digital entertainment hubs.

The online music service is currently only available in the US for Mac computer users. A Windows version is due by the end of the year.

Anthony Capstick, instantsearch.com
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