EMI Sues Music Site Offering Beatles MP3s

from the no-surprise-there dept

Last last week, a bunch of music blogs started noticing that a previously unknown site called Bluebeat.com was selling MP3s for $0.25, including numerous acts that still haven't officially authorized online sales -- such as The Beatles and AC/DC. There was a lot of headscratching among bloggers and reporters who wondered how this could possibly be legal. The answer, of course, is that it wasn't. The site didn't even make any attempt whatsoever to claim that they had licensed this music. They just said they thought that $0.25 was a better price for music. Not surprisingly, it took just a few days before EMI sued the site, and I'd imagine other lawsuits will quickly follow as well. It's not clear what the folks at Bluebeat were thinking -- other than that they were about to get a ton of publicity in the form of lawsuits, but it's hard to see what good that publicity is if the site is forced out of business.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    I purchased...

    ...115 of my favorite Beatles tracks for $29.05. I could have purchased everything for about $120, but opted not to. That's the only money I've spent on the Beatles in... Well, my entire life, since they don't offer mp3s.

     

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    Rabbit80 (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    It looks to me like they are still online and selling the stuff...

    http://www.bluebeat.com/artists/419#

     

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  3.  
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    Wocka Wocka Wocka, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    25 cents to much

    ...especially for 40 year old music.

     

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    Another Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    Re: 25 cents to much

    and .99, or more, is a fair price for stuff being made today that people call music?

     

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  5.  
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    Pwdrskir (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Marker USA

    They might be adapting the same business model as the owner of Marker USA, the ski binding company. He was sued all the time starting in the 70’s, but he was in constant bankruptcy and his wife held all the assets in the company. Not sure if this is still their setup, but it worked for Marker to get established as a big player.

     

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    Nethos (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Martyrdom...

    I almost feel like BlueBeat.com is setting itself up as a sort of martyr in this. Think about it: a lot of people will buy tracks from them at that price, especially ones that aren't available elsewhere. When the site is eventually shut down (as is inevitable), a lot of those people are going to start thinking that the $.99 price is way too high, since they were able to get songs for a lot less. They will also start to view the record labels in a more negative light, since (in their view) the labels shut down a competitor who was offering a better price so that they could keep charging four times as much.

    In light of this, I'm not sure if BlueBeat.com was simply trying to make as much money as possible and then run, or if they are trying to raise dissent against the record labels in order to bring down the cost of music.

     

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  7.  
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    Paranoid Dude, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    What about the..

    children..no. What about the music I buy. If I buy the MP3s which should not legally be sold, do I still own them? Do I need to return them? Maybe it is a sting set up by the RIAA where they can come and sue me as an illegal downloader?
    Are you a cop? 'cause you got to tell me if your a cop right?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:21pm

    Bluebeat is owned by a DRM company that once sued Apple and Microsoft...for not using their DRM? I dunno, I couldn't make much sense of it.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/11/beatles-for-salefor-25-a-track-but-is-it-lega l.ars

    They seem to think they're legal.

     

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    tristan lush, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:29pm

    Ya that was my point...charge 99 cents...no problemo

     

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    Doctor Strange, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:38pm

    A rare missed opportunity for the Techdirties to remind everyone of the Streisand effect and how EMI is only drawing attention to BlueBeat and that the only appropriate or logical response is to ignore them.

     

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    Lonzo5, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:45pm

    Best $30 I could ever see myself spending.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:15pm

    Re:

    Except in this case there is a very valid copyright claim against Bluebeat, as it's blatant commercial copyright infringement.

    Unless they're hoping to make a few quick bucks and then dodge around in legal hoops for the next few decades, this isn't really a valid "get rich quick" scheme.

     

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    Poddys (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 1:22am

    Sounds to me like "A Day In The Life" of an illegal music download site..

     

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    JP_Fife, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 1:46am

    Is this perchance the same as those software sites that sell Photoshop and other applications for fifty dollars? Perhaps those who bought from this site might find some errors in their credit card statements when they get the next one in? Or it could be an elaborate phishing hoax. Did anyone else read through their terms and conditions? You have to install and activate their software plus third party software, there is mention of licensors. There is a full postal address - PO Box - for copyright infringement claims.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 5:55am

    On this one I have to side with RIAA .....

    As much as I hate to, on this one I have to side with RIAA. This is commercial copyright infringement.

     

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  16.  
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    BBT, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    technically, they're trying to exploit a loophole in copyright law by calling their products "audio-visual works". the copyright office says "the sounds that accompany an audiovisual work, for example, a motion picture, are not defined as a sound recording." And A/V work is described as a "series of related images that are intended to be shown by the use of a machine or device, together with accompanying sounds, if any."

    So they're trying to exploit this. Presumably you need some other kind of license to be able to use music in an "audiovisual work", and BlueBeat claims to have that licensing.

     

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  17.  
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    Skout (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    How is this theft?

    One of my major complaints against the music and movie groups (game publishers, too!) has always been that they're not offering what their customers want, and this is a classic example: people obviously WANT the Beatles music in MP3 format, and are willing to pay for it, BUT NOBODY IS OFFERING IT. Stealing it is the ONLY option! Why is it copyright infringement to take copies of something that doesn't exist in the market?

    These people aren't stealing revenue from groups, because the groups aren't selling this material. I'm not legitimizing piracy - I'm simply pointing out what I see as a major flaw.

     

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  18.  
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    Alatar, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    How dare they...

    ...sell music for less than one buck for one tiny song? I understand why those thie...err...honest merchants are shocked.

    By the way, it would have been a nice irony if Bluebeat was giving artists more money out of a $0.25 sale than the $0.06 artists get out of a $1 sale in what they call the "regular clean legal circuit"...

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    I don't think it's just 'audiovisual works' that they're using, I think they're also claiming that the use of lossy compression means that they've created an original work substantially different from the original recording, much like a a cover or something.

     

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  20.  
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    kmrayburn (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Court Documents for Capitol Records v. BlueBeat

    I found the Complaint, Reply and Response to the Reply. You can view or download the documents HERE

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous1, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    @Mike Masnick: I'm surprised you didn't mention, but according to an article on Wired.com's "Threat Level" blog, the following isn't true:

    "The site didn't even make any attempt whatsoever to claim that they had licensed this music." The article states that they they re-recorded the entire catalouge, made some accoustic changes, and the copyright office accepted the catalouges copyright!! In the end this may also be a case of copyright office runs amok.

     

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  22.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: How is this theft?

    The Beatles music is still for sale on CD, right? So you could buy it and rip it to whatever format you want, right? So your argument is that you don't like the format or the price. That certainly doesn't change whether it's copyright infringement. Even if it were not for sale anywhere, for any price, that would still not have any bearing on the question of copyright infringement as far as I'm aware.

     

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  23.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re:


    "The site didn't even make any attempt whatsoever to claim that they had licensed this music." The article states that they they re-recorded the entire catalouge, made some accoustic changes, and the copyright office accepted the catalouges copyright!! In the end this may also be a case of copyright office runs amok.


    They said that later in reply to the lawsuit. I was talking about the site originally.

    However, will have a new post up later about the response from the company.

     

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  24.  
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    Kevin, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Court Grants TRO

    The Federal Court granted the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order). You can view or download the Court Order over at Copyright in the Internet Ages.

     

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  25.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re: What about the..

    I hope they sue me. I'd make a much better defendant than Tenenbaum.

    "Hard-working mom of 3 is sued for 5 gazillion dollars after she purchased Beatles tracks that she thought were legal... Defendant was quoted as saying that her case would be a long and winding road, but imagine a world where you can no longer be sued for sharing music."

     

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  26.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 6th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    God...

    I hope they sue me. I'd make a much better defendant than Tenenbaum.

    "Hard-working mom of 3 is sued for 5 gazillion dollars after she purchased Beatles tracks that she thought were legal... Defendant was quoted as saying that her case would be a long and winding road, but imagine a world where you can no longer be sued for sharing music."

     

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  27.  
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    VJ, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:53pm

    Re: How is this theft?

    Uh, you can buy the CD's and rip them into MP3, or you can buy the Apple-shaped USB drive with the entire collection on it. Its a little stupid to say that because somebody won't sell you something in the format you particularly want it in that it is OK to just steal it.

     

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  28.  
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    ML, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    I got a refund

    I tried to buy the Beatles catalog from them but after almost 24 hours and still being 12 albums shy, I complained and they gave me back the full amount of money I had PayPal'd them. Their argument for being able to sell them is pretty stupid, if you ask me. At first I just wasn't thinking and did business with them, then news stories popped up everywhere about this being illegal sales, which made me torn, as I really wanted to get the songs I paid them for, but also didn't feel so good about buying stolen goods. At least they gave me back 100% of my money.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:58pm

    Re: I got a refund

    When I say I tried to buy the catalog that means I put it in the shopping cart, paid them for it via PayPal, and the spent all day and night constantly resetting their download script.

     

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  30.  
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    ML, Nov 6th, 2009 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: I got a refund

    OMG, I forgot to put my name it and it called me Anonymous Coward. How cool!

     

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