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Judge Orders The Beatles Off BlueBeat

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A federal judge has ordered BlueBeat.com stop selling tracks from The Beatles and other EMI artists pending a hearing in EMI’s copyright infringement lawsuit against the site and its parent company, Media Rights Technologies.

EMI filed suit against BlueBeat earlier this week, claiming the company had no right to offer music from the Beatles and other EMI artists online—The Beatles in particular have famously withheld their material from digital distribution, and yet BlueBeat was somehow putting it on offer for $0.25 per track.

BlueBeat did respond to EMI’s lawsuit…but industry watchers are still scratching their heads at what the company thinks it’s doing. BlueBeat apparently believes it is selling completely original sound recordings produced by “psycho-acoustic simulation” and—furthermore—that BlueBeat, not EMI, actually owns the copyrights to the material. BlueBeat also asserts that since it embedded images in the digital downloads they become new works to which it can claim copyright.

Federal judge John Walker seemed to take a dim view of BlueBeat’s assertions, noting that incorporating a copyrighted recording into an audiovisual work does not invalidate the original copyright.

The restraining order will be in place until November 20, when the judge will hold a hearing to determine whether the injunction should remain in place until a copyright infringement trial gets underway.

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