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Your weekend reading, January 21-22, 2012 – What’s in a word? A bit over $500 million and counting if it’s “Apple”

January 21, 2012

1. History, 2. Law, 9. Weekends

Your weekend reading, January 21-22, 2012 – What’s in a word? A bit over $500 million and counting if it’s “Apple”

When you’re in the market to piss off someone, try to avoid making it one of The Beatles – they can be a litigious bunch.

In 1968, The Beatles reformed their business interests into Apple Corps, Ltd.  The entity owns (or owned) 80% of a partnership of The Beatles, with the remaining 20% split equally among the four.  The partnership was the heir of the first business entity set up in 1963  to manage British taxes away.

The name came from Paul.  A friend had given him a piece of art, pictured here.  It’s by Magritte.  It’s “Apple Corps” because it is pronounced the same as “apple core.”  Cute.

So who was high up on the hit parade of pissing off Apple Corps?  Why, Apple Computer, of course.  I haven’t searched too hard, but I’m not stumbling over the reason Wozniak, Jobs, and Wayne picked the name.  But seeing that Apple Computer was formed in 1976 and The Beatles took aim for the first time in 1978, it was a rather quick shot over the bow.  Apple Comp paid Apple Corps $80,000 three years later and promised not to get into the music business.

Short memory.  In 1986, Apple Comp added MIDI and audio-recording to the Apple II line.  Apple Corps sued again, and Apple Comp got punked again.  The Apple II died an ignoble death.

In 1991, the price of poker went up.  It seems that the nearly sainted Steve Jobs couldn’t quite grasp this whole “no music” thing.  He included some sample music in the operating system.  “That’ll be $26.5 million, please.  Thank you very much.”  But Apple Comp started to get smart.  The settlement included a more specific division of “music” between their respective rights – The Beatles created, Apple Comp could reproduce.

And then in 2003 came iTunes.  While Apple Comp can claim victory in the trial that ensued in 2006, somehow or another Apple Corps and The Beatles won.  In 2007, Apple Comp sent $500 million to Apple Corps.  There was also an agreement over all future copyright issues wherein Apple Comp is pretty much free to follow its own path provided it sends regularly checks to the attention of Apple Corps, Ltd., 3 Savile Row London, Greater London W1S 3PB, UK.

Somehow I think The Beatles came out on top.

The Beatles also sued – twice – EMI and Capitol over royalties, netting the band a few hundred million dollars.  They won, it seems.

Remember when Nike used the song Revolution when pimping a sneaker?  Yeah, dumb.  Nike claims that Yoko said it was OK.  So what?  At best, she’s a shareholder of a company with no authority to bind the company.  A bunch of money changed hands and the commercial got pulled.

When money is on the table – either The Beatles holding closely their rights or other companies trying to parlay their products off of The Beatles – it’s a constant battle.  Numbers are all over the net.  I found one reference to The Beatles – from royalties going to them to the general tourism trade from which they see nothing – is still generating way over $1 billion a year.  That’s rather amazing for a 12-album (studio albums released in the UK) band that punted over 40 years ago and half of which are dead.

So what variety apple is the logo?  A Granny Smith.  Makes great pies.  You ever want to buy me a gift, I like this t-shirt.  A lot.  I take a size Large.  The coffee mug is rather cool, too.

So now that you’ve lasted this long, let’s get into my secret reason for posting this as weekend reading.  That litigation stuff was just a ruse.  Ready?  Beatles Bootleg.  The stuff from Anthology was good, but just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m an avid collector.  Got hundreds of hours of studio, home, and concert recordings.

Here’s a bordering-on-decent listing of bootleg on the market, although as you get into collecting you’ll see some obvious holes.  Where could you start if you wanted to collect Beatles Bootleg?  Well, depends on what you like.  I recall the early Beatles, but the White Album was the first to strike me when it was released, so the Esher Tapes are special to me.

Have you heard this before?

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Or this?

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Or this?

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Can you get the Esher Tapes on line?  Probably, but I take no responsibility for people that host sites other than my own and that may or may not be violating copyright in the process.

Here’s a start on The Lost Lennon Tapes – JOL’s solo work.  What I’ll share is that the radio broadcasts were done very well – allowing for the music to be stripped out in its entirety without any loss.  I forget right now – I think 33 episodes are out there?

This clip from the Get Back Sessions always cracks me up.  George had been writing “Something” for his skank wife, but never finished it.  Now, he says, he can’t even remember what he saw in her – he says it in the beginning and quickly.  Too funny.

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I bet you could fathom some search-engine strings with what you’ve just learned to uncover a good baseline collection.

Remember, violating copyright is bad.  Don’t do bad things.  How about a couple more? OK. Here’s two from The Last Year boots:

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Ah, how about the sequence of a song’s development? John had a few demos of Real Love. Yoko gave them to Paul on cassette. The remaining three Beatles worked it in stages.

Here’s John’s first demo:

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John’s second demo:

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John’s third demo:

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Here’s The Beatles acoustic mix:

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The Beatles enhanced mix (noise, I know … hey, it’s bootleg!):

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The Beatles single mix, original speed:

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The Kevin Godley mix:

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And the video mix (noticeably quicker than the original mix):

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Hope you enjoyed it. Remember … violating copyright is a bad thing. Don’t. Do. Bad Things.

Enjoy your weekend!

PS …

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About Clyde

Clyde is the lead attorney in the firm. Licensed to practice in 1993, he's also taught Constitutional and Criminal Law for several years at a private university, primarily at the Master's level.

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