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Legal dispute costs iTunes access to Lennon classics

LONDON – iTunes is to be denied access to John Lennon's entire solo back catalogue, most of which becomes available for digital download for the first time next month, due to a long-running dispute between Apple and The Beatles' management.

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The dispute centres around Apple's launch of its iTunes and iPod brands, which The Beatles copyright management firm Apple Corps says is in breach of a trademark agreement between the two sides dating back to 1981.

As a result, Lennon's record company EMI and his widow Yoko Ono have slapped a ban on iTunes using the catalogue while the dispute drags on.

This means iTunes will miss out on this week's digital release of the greatest hits album 'Working Class Hero' and the rest of his catalogue when it is released on December 5 in time for the Christmas sales rush.

A number of tracks will also be available for mobile download over the coming weeks, according to a statement from EMI, which owns the Parlophone and Capitol labels that Lennon's albums were originally released on.

A spokesman for EMI said: "This is an ongoing dispute."

Commenting on the release of the back catalogue, Ono said: "I am very happy that John's music is now available to a new generation of music fans. New technology is something he always embraced and this is something he would have loved."

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