All You Need Is Litigation (9/12/03)

Say, did you know there really aren't any Beatles songs about torts? (Legal, not Linzer. Well, Linzer either, for that matter.) Not that it's relevant to the matter at hand, since what we're really talking about is a breach of contract case, but we still found it interesting. See how easily we're amused? Call it a gift.

Okay, maybe we should back it up a step or two. Faithful viewer Hickey informed us that, according to FOX News, the Beatles' record label (the oh-so-unfortunately-named Apple Records) is doing what it does best: getting rich by playing the same old songs over and over and over again. The thing is, we're not talking about "Strawberry Fields" or "Drive My Car"; we're talking about "Let's Go Sue That Computer Company and Score Another $35 Million Or So." What, you don't remember that one? It was a smash hit back in the early '80s, charted again later that decade, and now looks to make yet another comeback. Heck, it's got a good beat and you can sue to it-- we give it a 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9...

So yeah, the rumors of inevitability have indeed come to pass: their Apple is once again suing our Apple for using the name of that particular fruit. The first such lawsuit came early in our Apple's career, and the end result was a huge transfer of cash from Cupertino to the UK and an extremely ill-conceived promise that Apple Computer would stick to, well, computers and keep its beak out of the music business. Of course, once our Apple released a computer capable of playing music, Apple Records sued again and won. And that was just over sound files and MIDI, so if anyone at One Infinite Loop is going to act all surprised about this now that Apple's got the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, and TV commercials pointing people to (now it just redirects to the iTunes page, but we're pretty sure it didn't before), they won't be fooling anybody.

Of course, we do find it noteworthy that when we hit Google for a link to Apple Records (do these guys even have a web site?), what we found instead were links to Screaming Apple Records, Big Apple Records, Bad Apple Records, and Black Apple Records-- and that's just in the first ten results. Gee, do you suppose the Beatles' label has sued any of those guys, or is the mere presence of an adjective before the fruit enough to stave off the lawyers? It must be, because it certainly couldn't have anything to do with the fact that all these labels have considerably less cash sitting around than Steve's company.

Meanwhile, we've refined our earlier plan to counter this recurring lawsuit, so here's Reason #4,338 why you should be glad that we aren't running Apple Computer, Inc.: we have no idea how much Apple Corps. is worth, but we'd be willing to blow our entire $4.5 billion cash reserves (and hock the Gulfstream jet, if necessary) on a buyout of the Beatles' label to end this goofiness once and for all. Upon assuming ownership of the company, we'd enact an elaborate two-point plan:

  1. Get downloadable versions of all Beatles recordings exclusively into the iTMS to start recouping some of that cash

  2. Rename the label "Litigious Dirtbag Records" and start signing really bad Beatles cover bands just out of spite

Luckily for all of us, we're not running Apple; Steve Jobs is, and Steve's got a much better plan for dealing with this problem once and for all. According to AtAT sources, the wheels are already in motion and an announcement should be forthcoming at this Tuesday's keynote: in order to prevent this kind of costly trademark infringement litigation from ever dogging the company again, Apple Computer, Inc. is officially changing its name. To "Walmart."

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The above scene was taken from the 9/12/03 episode:

September 12, 2003: The Beatles' record label slaps Apple with a lawsuit-- again. Meanwhile, Apple's success in mass sales of iBooks to entire school districts prompts the Redmond Beast to pre-announce Microsoft High School 2006, and an internal IBM document reveals that Apple did consider the possibility of putting Pentiums in Macs, but only as a Donner Pass-style last resort...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4202: Disaster Waiting To Happen (9/12/03)   Okay, so Apple isn't exactly the darling of education sales that it once was, but it still holds its own; remember how Apple's CFO revealed in his recent Frednote that Apple holds a 16% market share in the nation's schools?...

  • 4203: But Don't Sprain Your Brain (9/12/03)   It's Friday again here at AtAT (and, uh, probably other places, too), so you know what that means: it's time for another Weekend Brain Teaser! Yes, we know that if it weren't for us, you'd probably spend the weekend using chemical and/or recreational methods to congeal your grey matter into an inert mass of sludge, and since we're firmly committed to the prevention of fun mental atrophy, we've taken it upon ourselves to give you these little cognitive exercises on Fridays to keep your noggins toned and trim until you get back to the office...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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