What is the Libertarian position on The Beatles' Apple Corps v. Apple Computer, in re: iTunes?
I love both companies to death. The Beatles are my favorite musical group; my first computer was an Apple II and I bought several Macs later (But I use Dell now.)
I know the Beatles' music is still not available for (legal) download.
Frankly, I Feel a bit torn here, not sure who to root for?
If I may offer my personal opinion, Libertarians should side with Apple
Computer. Any trademark infringement claim rests, essentially, on consumers
confusing the two companies. Few people would confuse Apple Computer with
the Beatles company, Apple Records, because of the iTunes web site. Apple
Computer already paid $25 million in the early 90s to cover any possible
confusion when Apple Corps complained about the Apple II GS computer, one of
the first ³multi-media² computers sold with playing music in mind. At one
time Apple Corps had tried to branch out by selling analog phonographs and
radios under an ³Apple Electronics² trademark so that earlier settlement
might have been justified.
Copyrights and patents exist to reward creativity. Trademarks exist to help
identify sellers in the market. But government tries to expand both kinds
of restriction beyond their original purpose. Like imposing any other
limitation on the marketplace, politicians expect to reap financial support
by tilting the marketplace toward one donor or another. For example,
Congress repeatedly extended the expiring copyright on Disney cartoons long
after Walt Disney was already dead.
Vice Chair, Newsletter Editor
Libertarian Party of San Mateo County CA