Published Nov 05, 2009News spread like wildfire this week that a website called BlueBeat is being sued for copyright infringement for selling and streaming Beatles songs - the first time the tunes have been available digitally.
But here's where it gets weird: BlueBeat now claims the company owns the copyright to these songs, which the site is selling for 25 cents each, or $4.25 per album.
Despite EMI filing a lawsuit against the website on Tuesday (November 3), BlueBeat owner Hank Risan claims he owns the recordings because they are actually re-recorded versions of the songs using "psycho-acoustic simulation," which basically could mean he did something as simple as ran them through an equalizer, called them re-recordings and copyrighted them.
Perhaps BlueBeat thought it could get away with this amidst all the hoopla surrounding the announcement that the Beatles would finally be releasing their music digitally, via an apple-shaped USB drive containing the 14 Beatles stereo remasters and bonus material. The USB drive will be released on December 8 for $279.99, and there will only be 30,000 made.
But even that, and news of the reissue of Abbey Road as a deluxe package with a T-shirt and poster (limited to 5,000) wasn't enough to distract the EMI legal team to BlueBeat's activities. BlueBeat has, until now, been a legal site that's played by the books, which is what makes this activity so strange. But, of course, according to the company, it's not strange.
As of press time, the Beatles songs were still on BlueBeat's site. Head over to Wired for a look at the legal documents in this bizarre case.