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March 14, 2011


@ DeRS

On your First Point: Poor decisions? Northern Songs was formed in 62 or 63... you forget (or are unaware) of what a novelty it was for band members at that point to compose their own music. These were two hungry young men that were part of a group seeking fame and fortune. When you're from the middle/lower-middle class of Liverpool in the pre-internet age, what do you know of song publishing? You listen to your new manager... you act as if they could have said "Listen buddy... you don't realize who you're dealing with! We're going to be the greatest songwriters in the history of popular music! You play by OUR rules!" The deal they made was standard for the time.

On your Second Point: He did not sell it off. The owner of Northern Songs sold it off, without their knowledge or participation. The people that made that deal are the ones who sold to Sony/MJ.

On your Last Point: Yoko did not create any of these songs...McCartney did! Don't you think that gives him the right to be more "bitchy"? To see a mediocre musician like Michael Jackson own music that came out of his (McCartney's) own head?

@DeRS: The Beatles (individually or together) never fully owned the publishing on material from their classic output (1960-1970). The surviving members and the estates of the deceased members continue to receive publishing royalties based on the shares originally negotiated. In other words, while they don't own their songs 100%, their percentage of the take still brings in a LOT of money for them.

@ MarcM - The Answer is found in Wikipedia: "On 5 February 2007, Apple Inc. and Apple Corps announced a settlement of their trademark dispute under which Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to “Apple” (including all designs of the famed 'Granny Smith' Apple Corps Ltd.)and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use."

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Corps

Does this mean that future Beatles product will be sans apple? Do they have to licence it from Apple Inc.? I've got the Beatles Stereo USB in the nifty metal packaging. Does this mean things like this won't happen anymore?

@Mark. I appreciate your honest view point. However, I truly believe that this is likely a "legal" move on Apple's part to establish that the logo is there's via their court case with Apple Corp who tried to sue Apple Inc for the third time. I believe that Apple is protecting the old Apple Corp logo. Not for their own use, I believe, but legal reasons only so that it's defendable should someone try to sue Apple in the future for their own branding.

Although I am a huge fan of Apple Inc's fantastic products, I hate the arrogance and corporate greed which the company demonstrates by pursuing the Apple logo. Apple has it's own graphical representation, which is now burnt into the retinas of the technocracy. The Apple logo and, especially the cut in half version are, and always will be synonymous with the Beatles.

Enough is enough, Apple Inc. Don't forget that we, the Baby Boomers of the 1960's, are your biggest market sector, in terms of purchasing power. It doesn't pay to alienate your loyal customers.

Actually we may be able to connect the previous patent: http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/03/apple-inc-files-for-apple-trademark-under-42-international-classes.html with the patent filed here...

Mc Cartney
Unless pun is intended.

@RobertKCole: yes, Beatles could not keep their own publishing (due to poor decisions), and even when ATV Music Publishing went on sale last time back in 1985, Paul MacCartney, who was the first one to receive a buyout offer, declined to raise the pay once seller also found Michael Jackson interested in the catalogue.

After that, it was really pathetic to have MacCartney moaning for years that he has to pay for his own songs to Michael Jackson. First of all, why did he mess with his own share of the catalogue initially, selling off all of it? And, second, why he was greedy to offer more value for the catalogue back in 1985 (he had more than enough money)?

Now ATV MP is part of the merged Sony/ATV Music publishing, and neither Jackson's Estate, nor Sony are going to sell anything to the remaining members of Beatles or their relatives.

For the record, Yoko Ono was never as b*tchy as MacCartney was, clearly understanding circumstances of what happened to the catalogue. And she always had dignity with her respect to Jackson (both when he was alive and crucified, and when he was dead and respected).

Oh, the irony.

While undeniably old news as the court settlement took place in 2007, it closes a chapter in the storied mess of "The Beatles" as a business.

While fundamentally a method to retain artistic control and reduce personal tax exposure, John Lennon described the objective as follows in the 1968 press conference announcing the formation of Apple Corps:

Question "What is Apple, John?"

John "It's a business concerning records, films, and electronics. And as a sideline, whatever it's called... manufacturing, or whatever. But we want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about (pause) anything, don't have to go on their knees in somebody's office. Probably yours."

Later, on The Tonight Show, he further elaborated, "So we've got this thing called 'Apple' which is going to be records, films, and electronics – which all tie up."

In 1968, that was revolutionary thinking, foreshadowing not only the integration of media and technology, but the undermining of the music business by financially driven record labels.

Indeed, Apple Corps had five divisions:
- Apple Records
- Apple Films
- Apple Retail
- Apple Electronics
- Apple Publishing

30+ years later, that is a pretty good categorization of new media business drivers.

While The Beatles were true artistic visionaries, they rarely executed on the business side, most notably failing to regain control of their own song publishing catalog, despite right of first refusal opportunities.

So, with Apple Inc's finally gaining control of the Granny Smith logo across an expansive scope of classes, maybe the lyrics to Abbey Road's "The End" should have read: "And in the end, IP you take, is equal to the cash you make."

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