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The Beatles' Apple Records Files Lawsuit to Prevent Website from Selling 1962 Bootleg

March 21, 2008 4:21 PM ET

The Beatles' Apple Records have filed a lawsuit against online music store Fuego Entertainment in an attempt to prevent the website from releasing a 1962 live performance by the band from Hamburg, Germany's Star Club. The lawsuit states that Fuego does not have permission to sell the fifteen-song performance because at the time of the recording the Beatles had already entered into an exclusive contract with EMI prohibiting the third party recordings of their concerts. The tapes — acquired by Fuego after the tape's owner, Jeffrey Collins, failed to release a similar bootleg in 1995 — allegedly feature Ringo Starr's first concert as the Beatles' drummer following the exit of Pete Best.

Apple also claims that Fuego infringed on many of the Beatles' copyrights (including the "distinctive long 'T'" in the band's logo) as well as posted excerpts from the recording without permission. "What Fuego did for a little while is that they streamed it, the song and the clips, and then we sent them the cease-and-desist letter and they pulled down the streaming," lawyer Paul LiCalsi, who is filing the lawsuit on behalf of Apple, tells Rock Daily. "But very recently they've indicated that they're still intending to proceed with remastering it and issuing a CD, so we were forced to go into court and seek to stop them."

Apple is seeking an injunction against the posting of the recording and at least $15 million in actual and puntitive damages, as the lawsuit claims the Beatles have been "exploited" by Fuego Entertainment. In 1991, Apple successfully prevented Sony Music from releasing a similar album called The Beatles Live at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 -- Vol. I and Vol. II. Fuego came under fire earlier this year after attempting to profit off of 200 "inferior quality bootleg recordings" of Jimi Hendrix shows.

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