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EMI saves world from unauthorised Beatles downloads

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EMI appears to have recleansed the internet of Beatles music, forcing Bluebeat.com to ditch the 25 cents per Fab Four song offer it launched this week.

The music giant's US arm, Capital Records, hit BlueBeat with a copyright infringement suit yesterday and the Beatles tracks swiftly disappeared from the service, the LA Times reports.

BlueBeat had apparently argued that its downloads were exempt under US copyright laws, because it had made its own sound recordings of the tracks.

Capital, it would seem, said "yes, and we can call that piracy" claiming that BlueBeat had deliberately misconstrued the act.

The LA Times explains that the exemption BlueBeat claimed refers to soundalike recordings - oldsters will remember the UK's Parade of the Pops and Top of the Pops albums of the 1970s, where grizzled old session musicians recreated the youngster's freshest hits of the day down to the last bum note or mis-hit cymbal.

It's not clear whether BlueBeat will continue to maintain its argument.

In the meantime, it seems the world has been saved from the prospect of freely available digital access to the Beatles back catalogue. Except of course for the few thousand lucky enough to snag one of the Golden Circle-priced USB sticks unveiled by EMI this week. ®

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