Friday, November 6, 2009

Meet the Beatles... re-recording? Bluebeat claims its downloads are legal; Guardian, 11/5/09

Charles Arthur, Guardian; Meet the Beatles... re-recording? Bluebeat claims its downloads are legal:

A US company is offering digital downloads of the Beatles' music, the first in the world, putting it in the crosshairs of a lawsuit by EMI

"The Beatles songs are available for digital download, apparently legitimately. You have to go to an American site called Bluebeat which has possibly one of the worst download systems ever (a weird Java applet that insists on getting access to your computer), but they're there. And they really sound like the Beatles. In fact, hell, it is the Beatles.

This is puzzling, because the Beatles songs haven't been licensed for digital download to other sites. And, if you read the very extensive coverage on Wired, it seems that Apple Corps, the Beatles' management company, probably hasn't either. (I contacted Apple Corps earlier today but have not received a response.) EMI (the Beatles' publishers) has filed a lawsuit, Wired explains.

According to Wired, Bluebeat is claiming - in a bizarre court document - that it has made "re-recordings" of the songs using "psycho-acoustic simulation"...

For Bluebeat, though, it's a precipitous route towards calamity for a company that had probably been doing OK on its own. The lawsuit looks indefensible, will cost millions that it probably doesn't have, and is only going to give it short-term attention. Possibly this is what the company behind it, the mysterious Media Rights Technologies, Inc. of "PO Box 8447, Santa Cruz" (to quote the domain registration) is after.

Last word back to a lawyer contacted by Wired:

"They're hosed. That just doesn't make any sense," said Scott Mackenzie, a Dallas copyright attorney. "I don't even see the basis of their theory.""

No comments: