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Court Bars Online Sales Of Beatles Tracks

In a preliminary triumph for EMI Music, a federal judge has ordered a Santa Cruz-based company ‘BlueBeat’ to stop selling Beatles’ tracks and other music on its website with immediate effect.

In a landmark decision, Judge John Walter, a Los Angeles federal judge has put aside the arguments from the owner of the website, Hank Risan, as well as other companies quoted as defendants in the legal suit filed by the EMI Music Group.

Arguments from Risan for illicitly selling the Beatles’ tracks and other music on his website were based on the fact that he actually owned these recordings, as he re-recorded the latest versions of the tracks by using the technology termed as “psycho-acoustic simulation” by him.

Risan could be slapped with financial penalties worth millions of dollars, and several copyright experts have reportedly noted that his claims of using the purported technology were baseless and carry no weight at all.

However, if he gets the decision in his favour, this could actually turn the copyright laws upside down, leaving copyright holders unprotected against their property infringements.

Incidentally, in its lawsuit, EMI mentioned that it wouldn’t allow the defendants to use their recordings in any way, “either orally or in writing, expressly or by implication”.

EMI further claimed in its filing that BlueBeat “recently sought to register their infringing sound recordings with the Copyright Office, apparently claiming that because they copied the sound recordings using their own computer system, they now own these digital copies and have the right to distribute them to the public.”

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.