The presence of Apple honcho Steve Jobs at an EMI musiclabel event Monday afternoon has prompted speculation that songs from the Beatles catalogue will soon be legally available online.

Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc.,is scheduled to speak to the media at the London headquarters of EMI, which has released music by the Beatles since 1962 and owns the band's catalogue.

The launch of Apple's iTunes online music storein 2003 helped trigger another round of lawsuits with Apple Corps., the record and media company formed in 1968 and owned by surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and the estate of the late George Harrison.

Representatives for the Beatles had argued that Apple Computer's increasing forays into entertainment and music technology had breached a previous understanding reached by the two sides in the 1980s.

A settlement between the two Apples was reached last month. The technology giant received control ofthe Apple brand but agreed to license certain trademarks back to the record company for its continued use.

"We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks," Jobs said in a statement at the time.

Apple Corps Ltd.has forcefully defended the group's interests; in addition to preventing online sales,it has launched lawsuits against EMI, alleging unpaid royalties from previous record sales.

Ono has also filed an additional suit pertaining to a royalty dispute concerning Lennon's solo work.

EMI's release to the media for Monday's event promised an"exciting new digital offering," as well as a live performance by an unnamed artist or band.