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Apple/EMI Deal Near

Apple Inc., which runs the highly succesful iTunes service, and EMI Group Plc, the thrid-largrest music label in the world, are expected to reach a substanial deal on Monday. The deal should remove copyright protection laws from songs in EMI's catalog, which will make them usable on devices other than the iPod, the device associated with iTunes.

Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive officer, has been calling for removal of copyright protection from the world's three largest labels, Universal, Sony BMG, and EMI. EMI officials told Bloomberg that copyright protection was frustrating consumers and that they have been considering altering their preocedure.

Currently, these labels put digital-rights management (DRM) software on their songs. These force a catologing service like iTunes to make these songs available for use on only specific devices, like the iPod.

EMI also happens to be the label for The Beatles, who recently settled a dispute with Apple Inc. The Beatles' business interests are represented by Apple Corps Ltd., which had been at odds with Apple Inc. over the use of the name. The two sides came to an agreement on Feb.5. However, even with this settlement, The Beatles do not figure to be topic of discussion on Monday.

. "There is no Beatles' announcement," a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.