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Top music industry legal executive leaves Warner for Apple

Apple's legal team for iTunes and MobileMe services in Europe will be run by someone with a great deal of expertise on the digital music industry —a senior vice president with Warner Music Group.

Billboard reported this week that Elliott Peters, Warner's senior VP and head of digital legal affairs, will leave the company in the next month to work at Apple. There, he will be the corporate attorney director for iTunes and Internet services, based in Luxembourg.

Peters has been with Warner since 2000, where he eventually became the company's first digital lawyer. A memo sent to Warner employees noted that Elliot "has had a hand in almost every major WMG digital deal."

Those negotiations, undoubtedly, involved Apple a great deal, as iTunes is the top music retailer in the U.S., and is expected to eclipse CD sales entirely by the spring of 2011.

Elliott was credited with his involvement in a range of "important corporate transactions," including Columbia House Music and Video Clubs, Word Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Publications. He also helped to build Warner's Digital Legal Affairs team.

Apple has been working behind the scenes in an effort to launch a cloud streaming music service that would allow customers to access their iTunes library from any connected device. It is believed that those plans have been delayed by legal hold ups with the music industry.