In the latest chapter of the unending struggle to get the Beatles onto Apple’s popular iTunes music store, John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono told Reuters no one should be expecting the Fab Four’s tracks to show up on the site. In an interview with the news service, Ono applauded Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s business acumen but voiced her own unspecific concerns about iTunes. “[Apple CEO] Steve Jobs has his own idea and he’s a brilliant guy,” Ono said in an interview with Reuters. “There’s just an element that we’re not very happy about, as people. We are holding out.”
One of the most popular bands in the history of music, The Beatles recently released remastered versions of the band’s entire catalogue, but John, Paul, George and Ringo fans have not yet been able to legally purchase digital versions of the songs. In November, a judge approved a temporary restraining order for digital music site BlueBeat.com over the sale of Beatles songs. EMI Group, a British music company that owns the rights to the songs, filed a copyright infringement claim against the site and its parent company Media Rights Technologies.
The site had been selling Beatles songs for $0.25 apiece; staff members at Wired successfully downloaded 17 songs from the album “Abbey Road” for $4.55 by using a Paypal account. EMI’s lawyers argued the site was “engaged in digital music piracy of the most blatant kind” and was undercutting and destroying a legitimate digital market. “Perhaps the most stunning aspect of Defendants’ conduct is the willful and overtly defiant manner in which they are acting,” the lawsuit read. The suit makes particular mention of the Beatles tracks that were recently remastered and rereleased with great media fanfare. “The enormous and irreparable harm…is obvious and manifest,” the suit argued.
However, the owners of the Beatles catalogue-which includes Ono, former Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Olivia Harrison, the widow of George Harrison-are not always so skeptical of the digital age. When released last fall, “The Beatles: Rock Band” video game gave the whole industry a boost and attracted a great deal of media attention. “We’re older and more experienced,” Ono told Reuters. “Don’t hold your breath…for anything.”