November 13, 2009

Scandal around The Beatles: BlueBeat is banned from selling the band's songs

The Beatles
The Beatles
Alisa Krutovsky

How can that be? With the abundance of sites where one can get any music – eBay, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc. – The Beatles are not going to be available now for purchase.

EMI Music has acquired the rights in confirmation with Los Angeles court that from now BlueBeat, an American internet site neither can sell nor play out The Beatles tunes on its site. The site can no longer sell any music by The Beatles.

Representatives of BlueBeat acknowledged the fact that they were selling copied tunes of The Beatles (or in other words – they were selling self-made copies of The Beatles albums).

The Beatles are one out of just a few bands whose records are not sold on Internet. EMI filed a lawsuit against BlueBeat when it found out that the site was selling The Beatles for 25 cents a track. The lawsuit also states that the site had no license to sell The Beatles’ tunes.

However, Hank Risan, the brazen owner of online retailer BlueBeat, contended that he authored the songs using "psycho-acoustic simulations." These simulations "are my synthetic creation of that series of sounds which best expresses the way I believe a particular melody should be heard as a live performance," Risan said.

According to Risan, this technology allows him to sell music, which almost no different from an original and, at the same time, falls within the Copyright Act rights for the compositions that “simulate and/or imitate the music that is protected by copyright.”

This applies to tribute-brands – to the bands, which perform, for example, the songs of The Beatles. In this case – they do not break the copyright laws, but the artists and/or bands must pay for the author’s rights for performing these tracks.

The judge, however, found in favor of EMI and issued an injunction banning BlueBeat the company from streaming or selling tracks from the Beatles and other EMI music artists. The tunes are still visible on the site, though, but once you click on “Buy”, it prompts a message that the tracks aren't available for purchase.

The hearings are scheduled on November 20, 2009.

Meanwhile, EMI, the owner of the original Beatles recordings, has been in longtime talks with Apple Corps. - the company set up by the Beatles to look after their catalog - about arranging some kind of legitimate deal for selling the tunes online.

Still, you can buy The Beatles on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders websites.