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Beatles case decision posted online

'Apple Computer has not crossed the line'

The judgement in the Apple Computer versus Apple Corps High Court battle is now available to read online.

The 111-clause decision details the judge's deliberations in the case, in which The Beatles' Apple Corps accused Apple Computer of breaching a 1991 agreement by using the apple logo in association with its iTunes Music Store.

The judge did not agree with the plaintiff's complaint. Instead, he sided with the defendant's claim that iTunes is, at heart, no more than a data transmission service for music, a use he declared was acceptable under the 1991 agreement.

In clause 104 Justice Edward Mann claims: "The overall impression is one of a store which is selling (transmitting) recordings (data), puffing its services and wares and offering some enticing products. The technical qualities of the product are uniform (the Protected AAC format). However, the marks are used on and in connection with the service, and they are still not, in my view, used to "frank" the recordings as well. Apple Computer has not crossed the line."

Mann refers to a clause (clause 4.3) included within the 1991 agreement. He points out that this clause allows Apple Computer to run services such as the iTunes Music Store.

Paraphrased, this clause reads: "Apple Computers shall have the exclusive right to use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with goods or services (such as software, hardware or broadcasting services) used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content provided it shall not use or authorise others to use the Apple Computer Marks on or in connection with physical media delivering pre-recorded content (such as a compact disc of the Rolling Stones music).

You can read Justice Mann's extensive opinion here.

This story first appeared on Macworld.co.uk.


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