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Beatallica offline after legal threat

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Sony has countered a possible threat to its rights to the Beatles' back catalogue by ordering Milwaukee-based Beatallica to close its website and cough up unspecified damages, Reuters reports.

Beatles-Metallica fusion outfit Beatallica had been wowing online audiences worldwide with compositions such as "Leper Madonna" and "Got to Get You Trapped Under Ice". The group says it is not "ripping off" Beatles songs but "parodying them in a loving tribute that is protected by copyright laws". Sony music tentacle Sony/ATV Music Publishing disagrees, and told the band in a letter dated 24 February: "Such uses of Sony/ATV compositions without the express authorization or license has caused and continues to cause substantial and irreparable injury, and is in direct violation of Sony/ATV's rights."

Beatallica has taken down its website while it considers its legal options. David Dixon, the band's "Webmaster of Puppets", lamented: "I think they're being very shortsighted. The amount of income that we generate from this is minuscule. None of us are quitting our day jobs."

An online petition demanding that Sony drops its action is testament to the band's popularity - it has attracted 6,000 signatures from enraged fans who reportedly continue to enjoy Beatallica via "offshore" websites in defiance of potential litigation ®

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