Beatles’ long and winding road to iTunes ends thanks to Eversheds

Eversheds has helped its longstanding client Apple Corps on an agreement to make The Beatles’ music available online for the first time.

As of yesterday the public will be able to download all The Beatles’ songs from the online media library iTunes.

This comes after a lengthy IP dispute between Apple Corps and Apple Inc – owner of iTunes – over competing trademark disputes, which settled in 2007.

Eversheds litigation partner Nick Valner, who worked on the earlier disputes, was also instructed on this particular – and highly confidential – deal. He was assisted by senior associate Neil Mohring.

The pair worked on the drafting of two complex commercial contracts, one between Apple Corps (owned by The Beatles) and EMI, the other between Apple Corps, EMI and Apple Inc. The contracts cover distribution of royalties, accounting issues and exclusivity, as The Beatles were adamant they only wanted to work with a single retailer.

“There were lots of interested parties and keeping it confidential until the launch date was key,” commented Valner. “We signed on 25 October and the chances of a leak were quite high. No-one else at Eversheds even knew we were working on the deal, a story has [greater] impact if it hits on one day [rather than] trickling out.”

However, meticulous planning arguably did not prevent it being overshadowed by the announcement yesterday that Prince William is to marry Kate Middleton.

Apple was advised by its senior in-house counsel Kevin Saul. EMI also took in-house advice from London-based general counsel Kyla Mullins and Los Angeles-based lawyer John Ray.