Apple Corps Awarded $77 Million Over Fake Beatles Sales
A U.S. District Court awarded the Beatles’ Apple Corps business $77 million in damages in a lawsuit over unlicensed band merchandise.
Judge Beth Bloom arrived at the figure by fining the 77 individuals and small businesses named in the lawsuit $1 million each, for selling items that breached the Beatles’ copyrights.
However, it was reported that Apple Corps is unlikely to see much of the money in real life. "None of the defendants appeared in court, and most of them were identified only by their online usernames,” Digital Music News noted. The ruling is expected to dissuade would-be counterfeiters from selling unlicensed products. As an aside, the trademark infringers were barred from ordering, selling and/or manufacturing trademarked goods in the future.”
When the lawsuit was filed in the Florida Southern District Court in February 2018, Apple Corps had named 50 alleged offenders and asked for $100 million in damages. The paperwork claimed that defendants had “wrongfully reproduced and counterfeited individual trademarks” in order to “dupe and confuse the public” and to “earn substantial profits.” The corporation added that an increasing amount of its time and money was being spent on battling “the expansion of counterfeiting.”
Elsewhere in the 52-page document, the corporation owned by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison explained that websites like eBay and Etsy, along with privately established sites, were used to “infringe the intellectual property rights of Plaintiffs. ... Upon information and belief, Defendants will continue to register or acquire new domain names and seller identification aliases for the purpose of seeking and offering for sale goods bearing counterfeit and confusingly similar imitations of Plaintiffs’ trademarks unless preliminary and permanently enjoined.”
In 2016, England’s Liverpool City Council reported that, every year, the legacy of the Beatles contributed to approximately $107 million to the local economy alone and supported nearly 2,500 jobs.