The Beatles and EMI Music got a temporary restraining order today against BlueBeat.com, a Web site illegally offering the Fab Four’s music for 25 cents per download.
BlueBeat — a division of Media Rights Technologies — has been offering streaming music for some time. But last week, MRT’s Hank Risan and company added all the new Beatles remasters not just for streaming but downloading as well. The Beatles do not allow their music to be used for either purpose, as everyone on this planet and several others are well are.
Nevertheless, Risan is claiming that the versions of these Beatles songs are from his own copyright, that he somehow made them — to use his term– psycho-acoustically. On Nov. 20, he will have to prove what this is all about. That’s when he and EMI must return to federal court in Los Angeles.
Something interesting: While BlueBeat has temporarily shut off the buy feature on the Beatles music, you can still stream it — or listen to it — for free. For some reason, Judge John F. Walter did not order that stopped as well.
I spoke to Risan today. He said, “I have every reason to believe we will prevail.” He also said that he will soon share some documents explaining all this. What he did not answer was why he chose the Beatles — the highest-profile, most litigious music organization ever — to test his scientific and mathematical theories.
Risan and his pals are not new to litigation. In 2001, the RIAA hit him with a cease-and-desist letter over another Web site for copyright infringement and potential losses of $150 million. Risan pulled down the music. Unless he can somehow prove that the music he has up on the Internet isn’t the Beatles — he says somehow he’s created his own recordings, but they are the Beatles’ — he will likely have to do the same again.
As I’ve written many times over the last few years, don’t mess with the Beatles.