Get back to where you once belonged: A judge approves a temporary restraining order for digital music site BlueBeat.com over the sale of Beatles songs.
Internet music site BlueBeat.com, which bills itself as trying to "stop
the insanity of overpriced online music," is no longer carrying the entire
catalog of songs from legendary rock band The Beatles.
EMI Group, a British music company that owns the rights to the songs, filed
a copyright infringement claim against the site and its parent company Media
The site had been selling Beatles songs for $0.25 apiece; staff members at
Wired successfully downloaded
17 songs from the
album "Abbey Road"
for $4.55 by using a Paypal account.
After receiving the lawsuit, site founder Hank Risan sent an e-mail to the
general counsel of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Steve
Marks, responding to Marks' inquiry over "psychoacoustic simulations," a
"synthetic creation of sounds" developed by Risan.
"With regard to the music streamed at BlueBeat, I authored the sound
recordings that are being used by psycho-acoustic simulation, independently
affixed pursuant to Section 114 (b) of the Act and, as such, are not within the
exclusive rights of your members," the message reads. "In addition,
BlueBeat.com has received copyright registration for all its audio visual
material and related sounds."
EMI's lawyers argued
the site was "engaged in
digital music piracy of the most blatant kind" and was undercutting and
destroying a legitimate digital market. "Perhaps the most stunning aspect of
Defendants' conduct is the willful and overtly defiant manner in which they are
acting," the lawsuit reads.
The suit makes particular mention of the Beatles tracks, which were recently
remastered and rereleased with great media fanfare. "The enormous and
irreparable harm ... is obvious and manifest," the suit argues.
On Nov. 5 Judge John Walter of the U.S. District Court of the Central
District of California approved
a temporary restraining order on
BlueBeat. "Although Defendants claim, without any evidence, that an injunction
would significantly harm, if not destroy, their business, the hardships
suffered by Plaintiffs will be great if Defendants are not enjoined from
infringing or misappropriating Plaintiffs' Recordings," Judge Walter ruled.
"Defendant cannot invalidate the copyright of an independent and preexisting
sound recording simply by incorporating that recording into an audiovisual
Five albums of Beatles songs remain on the Website; however, when a user
clicks on an album's "Buy" tab it opens up a window to purchase the album on
Amazon.com. Though it was widely rumored the legendary rock band's complete
discography would be released digitally this fall-along with the remastered
albums-it is still uncertain as to when, or where, Beatles tunes will show up
on a service that's given a ticket to ride.