You’ve got to marvel at BlueBeat’s chutzpah. The music site that quickly attracted an EMI lawsuit this week for selling Beatles tracks for $0.25-a-pop, even though The Fab Four hasn’t yet authorised online sale, has indeed now been ordered by an LA judge to stop selling those songs and others.
But only after BlueBeat owner Hank Risan tried a courageous defense, sent from his iPhone – that he, and not EMI or *Apple* Corps, own the copyright to the songs in question, because he authored them using a “psycho-acoustic simulation device”.
“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,” Risan wrote to RIAA lawyer Steve Ranks, claiming to have developed “entirely new and original sounds” – that just happen to sound like originals.
EMI’s lawyers were having none of it, accusing BlueBeat of “thumbing their noses” to labels: “Put simply, defendants are engaged in digital music piracy of the most blatant kind” (the full plaintiff case is interesting in itself as an illustration of how a label sets out a prosecution).
And the judge agreed, granting a temporary restraining order that stops BlueBeat from selling the music, and noting: “(The) defendant cannot invalidate the copyright of an independent and preexisting sound recording, simply by incorporating that recording in to an audiovisual work”.
Case closed. BlueBeat gets back to where it once belonged. Will the next plucky music site get in the line please?