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Bluebeat.com fined $1m for selling Beatles tracks

Claimed they were 'psycho-acoustic simulations'

Bluebeat.com, a website that was accused of unlawfully selling downloads of songs by the Beatles and other successful recording artists in 2009, has been ordered to pay just under $1m ($950,000, or about £594,000) to the copyright holders, Reuters reports.

Bluebeat, represented by the Santa Cruz-based firm Media Rights Technologies, notoriously defended its actions by claiming that users weren't downloading the original tracks, but rather re-recorded "psycho-acoustic simulations" that just happened to sound extraordinarily similar.

"Psycho-acoustic 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," said Hank Risan, the owner of the site, at the time.

That argument was rejected late last year by US district court judge Josephine Tucker, who called it "obscure and undefined pseudo-scientific language [that] appears to be a long-winded way of describing 'sampling'".

As well as the fine, Bluebeat has been banned from selling music from the labels that took it to court, potentially (barring appeals) bringing to an end a case that has dragged on since 2009. In that time, of course, the Fab Four's music has become legitimately available for download on Apple's iTunes Music Store.

See also:

Timeline: The Beatles and Apple


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