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.

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Companies: bluebeat, emi

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Comments on “EMI Sues Music Site Offering Beatles MP3s”

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30 Comments
Nethos (profile) says:

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.

Paranoid Dude says:

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?

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

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.”

JP_Fife says:

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.

BBT says:

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.

Skout (profile) says:

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.

nasch (profile) says:

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.

Alatar says:

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”…

Anonymous1 says:

@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.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

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.”

ML says:

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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