Report: Activision, MTV vying for Beatles rights

<i>The Financial Times</i> reports the Fab Four are a step closer to being featured in either a Rock Band or Guitar Hero game.

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The rumours have been circulating for a while now that the copyright holders of the Beatles' music are going to finally give the go-ahead for their tunes to be used in a game.

According to the Financial Times, representatives of the Beatles have been in talks with both Activision and MTV Games about licensing the band's back catalogue. Activision currently publishes the Guitar Hero series, including a multi-instrument version called Guitar Hero World Tour due out this autumn, whereas MTV Games is responsible for rival Rock Band.

A final deal could be "reached in a matter of weeks," as reported by the FT, which cited a source familiar with the talks. The deal, worth several million dollars, would have to be approved by both EMI (the record label that owns the master recordings) and Apple Corps (which looks after the band's business interests).

So far, Apple Corps has been hesitant about digital licensing and other new copyrights; Apple Corps was slow to release albums on CDs, and have yet to let iTunes carry the band's songs due to legal disputes.

However, Apple has recently allowed Beatles' compositions to be used on popular TV show American Idol, in Las Vegas Cirque de Soleil show The Beatles Love, and in Julie Taymor's 2007 film Across the Universe.

The chief executive of Sony/ATV Music Publishing (owner of more than 200 Beatles copyrights), Martin Bandier, commented, "To my view, it's only a matter of time before we see Beatles songs that are the original recordings in motion pictures, in television work, and yes, maybe even one day in a commercial." He also argued the merits of making the group's music accessible to youngsters.

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