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Judge hands BlueBeat.com $1m bill for Beatles downloads

Hits 'psycho-acoustic simulation' tech with silver hammer

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A California website that claimed its "psycho-acoustic simulation" technology meant it could sell Beatles downloads has been ordered to cough up $950,000 to EMI.

Bluebeat.com started offering the downloads in 2009 at 25 cents a pop. The too good to be true deal came well ahead of Apple's own tie-up with the fab four and, more importantly, the fab four's lawyers.

EMI immediately took to the courts, but BlueBeat.com and owner Hank Risan argued that its downloads were exempt from US copyright law, because it had made its own "psycho-acoustic simulatons" of the tracks.

How this differed from ripping a CD or taping an LP was sadly never made clear. Either way an LA judge rejected the argument, and slapped an injunction on BlueBeat.

Now a district court judge has ruled that Media Rights Technologies, BlueBeat's owners, much pay $950,000 to settle the suit. As well as the Beatle's tracks, the deal covers other EMI acts including Radiohead, the LA Times reports.

Judge Josephine Staton Tucker apparently described BlueBeat's argument as "obscure and undefined pseudo-scientific language that appears to be a long-winded way of describing sampling".

As of this morning, BlueBeat.com still appeared to be offering people the chance to listen to "fully-licensed simulated performances" of a range of acts, including the Beatles. ®

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