Published Mar 28, 2011A year before the Beatles' catalogue appeared on iTunes, an online music retailer called BlueBeat was busted for selling high-quality digital versions of the group's catalogue. A judge quickly ruled that the files were being sold illegally and shut the website down. Now, the owner of BlueBeat will have to pay almost $1 million for his infraction.
The Associated Press reports that the music seller agreed to cough up $950,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by EMI, Capitol Records and Virgin Records America.
When we first heard of this case, BlueBeat boss Hank Risan claimed to own the songs because he wasn't selling the original recordings, but what he called "psycho-acoustic simulations." The courts decided that these supposed reproductions weren't any different from the original tracks, and ruled that BlueBeat had violated the record companies' copyright.
BlueBeat was previously banned from selling music by other artists as well, so the website will likely have trouble making up for that $950,000 it just lost.
If you go to BlueBeat.com now, you will find that it's now devoted to sharing and listening to playlists. It claims to offer "simulated live musical performances."