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Date: Dec 17, 2005
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (2:06 - 246.3 KB - 16kbps) - Today's article is read by Mr. Claude James.
1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

The surviving members of The Beatles and relatives of the late band members, John Lennon and George Harrison, are suing EMI, their former record company, in a bid to recover more than $54 million in alleged unpaid royalties. Lawyers acting on behalf of the ex-Beatles have started legal proceedings, both in London and New York courts, to recoup the cash they maintain EMI has fraudulently hidden using shady accounting practices. The deficit was found after an audit of Apple Corp, the Beatles’ commercial arm, two years ago. Negotiations between Apple Corp and EMI have failed to resolve the issue, prompting the decision to seek legal redress. Apple won the last court battle between the two in 1991, when it prevented EMI from releasing an album box set on CD.

Both parties in the latest dispute are standing firm over their legal arguments. Apple Corp boss Neil Aspinall said he had tried his utmost to reach an out-of-court settlement with EMI and that court was his last resort: “We have tried to reach a settlement through good faith negotiations and regret that our efforts have been in vain,” he said. He insisted that: “Despite very clear provisions in our contracts, EMI persists in ignoring their obligations and duty to account fairly and with transparency.” EMI flatly rejects Apple Corp’s claim for unpaid royalties. A company spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency: “Sometimes there are differences of opinion, especially when the contracts are large and complex, when you can get issues of contractual interpretation.”

WARM-UPS

1. BEATLES SEARCH: Talk to as many other students as you can to find out what they know about The Beatles. After you have talked to lots of students, sit down with your partner(s) and share your information. Tell each other what you thought was interesting or surprising. Do you like The Beatles?

2. MOST IMPORTANT: Do you think The Beatles is the most important band in rock history? Look at the bands below and talk about how important they are. Do you have any of their music? What three bands or artists would you add to this list?

  • The Beatles
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Nirvana
  • U2
  • Pearl Jam
  • Queen
  • The Doors
  • Radiohead
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Relatives / John Lennon / George Harrison / EMI / record companies / negotiations / CDs / disputes / court battles / good faith / contracts / obligations / Reuters

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. I’M A BEATLE: You are now a member of The Beatles. It is 1969. Talk with the other “Beatles members” about life as a rock and pop star. (If you don’t want to be a Beatles member, choose another rock / pop star.) What are the best and worst bits? What are your plans for the weekend? What do you think of Michael Jackson? Who are your favorite bands and singers performing today?

5. BEATLES OPINIONS: Discuss these opinions with your partner(s).

  1. The Beatles are the greatest ban ever.
  2. The Beatles sang about drugs. That’s wrong.
  3. Many other bands and artists have been more successful than The Beatles.
  4. The Beatles’ songs are timeless and will be sung forever.
  5. If The Beatles hadn’t broken up, they would have produced even greater music.
  6. I would like to have been a member of The Beatles in the 1960s.
  7. The Beatles is the world’s most over-rated pop band.
  8. The Beatles greatly changed modern culture.

6. SUE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “sue”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The Beatles are suing their ex-record company for unpaid royalties.

T / F

b.

Lawyers maintain EMI fraudulently concealed cash due to The Beatles.

T / F

c.

The Beatles have a commercial leg called Apple Corp.

T / F

d.

Apple Corp won a court battle against EMI in 1991.

T / F

e.

Apple Corp had no interest whatsoever in settling out of court.

T / F

f.

The Apple Corp boss said negotiations would take place at a resort.

T / F

g.

The Apple Corp boss said EMI’s accountants are vain and ignorant.

T / F

h.

EMI has said contractual interpretations can lead to differing opinions.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

late

wholeheartedly

b.

bid

questionable

c.

recoup

win back

d.

shady

attempt

e.

arm

fruitless

f.

resort

stipulations

g.

in vain

alternative

h.

provisions

deceased

i.

transparency

division

j.

flatly

openness

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

relatives of the late

using shady accounting practices

b.

in a bid to recover more than

have been in vain

c.

Lawyers acting

firm over their legal arguments

d.

fraudulently hidden

$54 million in alleged unpaid royalties

e.

prompting

reach an out-of-court settlement

f.

standing

contractual interpretation

g.

tried his utmost to

band members

h.

our efforts

account fairly and with transparency

i.

obligations and duty to

on behalf of the ex-Beatles

j.

you can get issues of

the decision to seek legal redress

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

The Beatles sue EMI for $50 million

The ________ members of The Beatles and relatives of the ________ band members, John Lennon and George Harrison, are suing EMI, their former record company, in a bid to recover more than $54 million in ________ unpaid royalties. Lawyers acting on behalf of the ex-Beatles have started legal ________, both in London and New York courts, to ________ the cash they maintain EMI has fraudulently hidden using shady accounting practices. The deficit was found after an ________ of Apple Corp, the Beatles’ commercial arm, two years ago. Negotiations between Apple Corp and EMI have failed to ________ the issue, prompting the decision to seek legal ________. Apple won the last court battle between the two in 1991, when it prevented EMI from releasing an album box set on CD.

 

 

audit
late
proceedings
redress
surviving
resolve
alleged
recoup

Both parties in the latest dispute are ________ firm over their legal arguments. Apple Corp boss Neil Aspinall said he had tried his ________ to reach an out-of-court settlement with EMI and that court was his last ________: “We have tried to reach a settlement through good ________ negotiations and regret that our efforts have been in ________,” he said. He insisted that: “Despite very clear provisions in our contracts, EMI persists in ignoring their obligations and duty to account fairly and with transparency.” EMI ________ rejects Apple Corp’s claim for unpaid royalties. A company spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency: “Sometimes there are differences of ________, especially when the contracts are large and complex, when you can get issues of contractual ________.”

 

 

vain
resort
interpretation
opinion
standing
faith
utmost
flatly

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

The Beatles sue EMI for $50 million

The __________ members of The Beatles and relatives of the late band members, John Lennon and George Harrison, are suing EMI, their former record company, in a bid to recover more than $54 million in ________ unpaid royalties. Lawyers acting on behalf of the ex-Beatles have started legal __________, both in London and New York courts, to recoup the cash they maintain EMI has fraudulently hidden using _______ accounting practices. The deficit was found after an audit of Apple Corp, the Beatles’ commercial ____, two years ago. Negotiations between Apple Corp and EMI have failed to ________ the issue, prompting the decision to seek legal __________. Apple won the last court battle between the two in 1991, when it prevented EMI from releasing an album _____ _____ on CD.

Both parties in the latest ________ are standing firm over their legal arguments. Apple Corp boss Neil Aspinall said he had tried his __________ to reach an out-of-court settlement with EMI and that court was his last __________: “We have tried to reach a settlement through good faith negotiations and regret that our efforts have been ____ ______,” he said. He insisted that: “Despite very clear ____________ in our contracts, EMI persists in ignoring their obligations and duty to account fairly and with transparency.” EMI _________ rejects Apple Corp’s claim for unpaid royalties. A company spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency: “Sometimes there are differences of opinion, especially when the contracts are large and complex, when you can get issues of contractual _______________.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘record’ and ‘company’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “BEATLES” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about The Beatles, the music industry and record companies.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • late
  • bid
  • recoup
  • arm
  • redress
  • box
  • firm
  • resort
  • vain
  • duty
  • flatly
  • complex

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. What do you think of The Beatles?
  3. Why do you think the band has achieved such iconic status?
  4. A leading London orchestra once said The Beatles’ music is as good as Beethoven’s or Mozart’s. What do you think about this?
  5. Do you have a favorite member of The Beatles?
  6. Who do you think is the greater person, John Lennon or George W. Bush?
  7. Have you ever wanted to sue someone?
  8. Have you ever been involved in a court case?
  9. What things have you done in your life that have been as a last resort?
  10. Have you ever put a lot of effort into something only to find out it was all in vain?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Do you think The Beatles will win its court battle against EMI?
  4. Why do you think Apple Corp is suing EMI in two different countries?
  5. What happens if EMI wins in New York but loses in London?
  6. How can it be possible that two large companies could not settle this dispute out of court?
  7. Who do you want to win the court cases and why?
  8. Do you think record companies always treat their artists fairly?
  9. Why do you think the comment from the EMI spokeswoman is a little vague?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

MY TOP FIVE: In the table below, write the names of your top five all-time favorite bands or artists. State your reasons for liking them. How have they influenced your life? How have they contributed to the music industry? What is your favorite song from each artist and why?

FAVE BAND /
ARTIST
 

WHY

MY LIFE

MUSIC INDUSTRY

FAVE SONG / TUNE

 __________

 

 

 

 

 __________

 

 

 

 

 __________

 

 

 

 

 __________

 

 

 

 

 __________

 

 

 

 

Tell your partner(s) about the information you put in the table. Comment on each other’s choices.

Change partners and talk about what you heard from your earlier partners.

Was there an artist / band that was a class favorite?

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on The Beatles. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. BEATLES SONG: Choose a Beatles song* and write an essay about it. Explain what you like about it. Write about the meaning of the lyrics. Show your essay to your classmates in the next lesson. Did anyone choose the same song?

4. THE GREATEST: Write an article for an international music magazine about who you think are the five most important bands / recording artists of all time. You can focus on international artists or those famous only in your own country. Give reasons for your choices. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Does everyone agree with your top five?

*Your favorite song from another artist / band is OK if you don’t like The Beatles.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

late

deceased

b.

bid

attempt

c.

recoup

win back

d.

shady

questionable

e.

arm

division

f.

resort

alternative

g.

in vain

fruitless

h.

provisions

stipulations

i.

transparency

openness

j.

flatly

wholeheartedly

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

relatives of the late

band members

b.

in a bid to recover more than

$54 million in alleged unpaid royalties

c.

Lawyers acting

on behalf of the ex-Beatles

d.

fraudulently hidden

using shady accounting practices

e.

prompting

the decision to seek legal redress

f.

standing

firm over their legal arguments

g.

tried his utmost to

reach an out-of-court settlement

h.

our efforts

have been in vain

i.

obligations and duty to

account fairly and with transparency

j.

you can get issues of

contractual interpretation

GAP FILL:

The Beatles sue EMI for $50 million

The surviving members of The Beatles and relatives of the late band members, John Lennon and George Harrison, are suing EMI, their former record company, in a bid to recover more than $54 million in alleged unpaid royalties. Lawyers acting on behalf of the ex-Beatles have started legal proceedings, both in London and New York courts, to recoup the cash they maintain EMI has fraudulently hidden using shady accounting practices. The deficit was found after an audit of Apple Corp, the Beatles’ commercial arm, two years ago. Negotiations between Apple Corp and EMI have failed to resolve the issue, prompting the decision to seek legal redress. Apple won the last court battle between the two in 1991, when it prevented EMI from releasing an album box set on CD.

Both parties in the latest dispute are standing firm over their legal arguments. Apple Corp boss Neil Aspinall said he had tried his utmost to reach an out-of-court settlement with EMI and that court was his last resort: “We have tried to reach a settlement through good faith negotiations and regret that our efforts have been in vain,” he said. He insisted that: “Despite very clear provisions in our contracts, EMI persists in ignoring their obligations and duty to account fairly and with transparency.” EMI flatly rejects Apple Corp’s claim for unpaid royalties. A company spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency: “Sometimes there are differences of opinion, especially when the contracts are large and complex, when you can get issues of contractual interpretation.”

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