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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 12:31 GMT
Apple sues over Beatles 'bootleg'
John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison at the BBC in 1963
The music "dilutes and tarnishes" the band's legacy, Apple Corps says

A legal attempt has begun to block the release of early Beatles recordings.

Lawyers for the group's surviving members have claimed the eight tracks, apparently played in Hamburg in 1962, were taped without permission.

The songs include Paul McCartney performing Lovesick Blues by Hank Williams, and McCartney and Lennon singing together on Ask Me Why.

But the Miami company trying to sell the music, Fuego Entertainment, has insisted the recordings were legal.

The firm's president, Hugo Cancio, told the Associated Press he planned to release the songs as an album entitled Jammin' with The Beatles and Friends, Star Club, Hamburg, 1962.

"It's unfair to millions of Beatles fans not to allow this recording to be put out. The world deserves to hear these tracks."

'Garden-variety bootleg'

Apple Corps, which represents the Beatles, said Mr Cancio had no right to distribute them, however.

The fact is that we have it; they don't, and that is what's bothering them
Hugo Cancio of Fuego Entertainment on the recording

It claimed the music was of poor sound quality and "dilutes and tarnishes" the band's memory.

"This appears to us to be a garden-variety bootleg recording," according to Apple Corps lawyer Paul LiCalsi.

However, Mr Cancio responded: "Don't claim that these were just bootlegged."

He said he had not expected to be facing a claim for $15 million (7.6 million) in damages from Apple Corps.

"I'm surprised because up to a few weeks ago, we were in good-faith conversations with Apple," he said.

And referring to the music, he went on: "The fact is that we have it; they don't, and that is what's bothering them."

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