As Expected, Bluebeat's 'Psycho Acoustic Simulations' Of Beatles Music Still Infringe On Copyrights

from the too-smart-for-your-own-good dept

About a year ago, we wrote about the somewhat bizarre case of a website called Bluebeat.com that claimed to legally be selling Beatles MP3s for $0.25. Of course, EMI disagreed and sued. Bluebeat's explanation was that it wasn't selling actual copies of the original music but had re-recorded the songs using "psycho-acoustic simulation," which made it a totally "new work" in their eyes. But not, of course, the eyes of the law. Basically, Bluebeat was trying to misread a section of copyright law and a court is having none of that. In a move that will surprise almost no one, the lawsuit against Bluebeat succeeded on summary judgment, with the judge noting that "BlueBeat fails to provide any evidence...showing how or why its purported 'simulations' are anything but illicit copies of the Copyrighted Recordings."


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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 6:39pm

    Yeah, but...

    ...it was totally nice while it lasted. I bought a ton of Beatles tracks for less than $20. Beat that, Steve Jobs!

     

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    Geek Hillbilly, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    Copyright abuse

    Looks like the MAFIAA wins again

     

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    Karl (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 8:03pm

    "Psycho-acoustic simulations"

    There's an interesting interview with BlueBeat's founder in the LA Times. He tries to explain the concept of a "psycho-acoustic simulation" in the interview.

    I actually know quite a bit about synthesis and encoding. Frankly, it sounds like all he's done is produce a different version of an MP3 encoder. Or, possibly, use some sort of additive synthesis to re-create the original waveforms.

    In neither case would their "simulations" be considered anything other than a wholly derivative sound recording. I'm surprised the case survived even this far.

    On the other hand, the interview does raise some interesting points about copyright. And they did pay the required statutory fees to the songwriters, which is somewhat surprising, and lessens the argument that they're a complete sham.

     

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    dano (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    I always liked the number argument...

    Since the songs are digitized, they are just one long number. You can't copyright the number 2, you can't copyright the number 1,234,567,890,234,345,345,345, so why can anyone legally prevent the sharing of the large number that is any digital file?

    What if I share a file containing a number that when multiplied by the number in another file shared by someone else yields a close approximation of the number that in mp3-land yields a copyrighted song. Does my file violate copyright?

    What if there are 10 files to multiply, and in the end must be multiplied by 2 to yield the song. Does the file containing the number 2 violate copyright? The possibilities are endless.

     

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    dano (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 6:11am

    Another point to ponder

    I'm, too, am not surprised by the outcome of this, but it raises questions for me.

    What if I'm in really good Beatles cover band and we get so good that it is not possible for a human to tell the difference between our recording and the original. Are we violating copyright?

    Now, what if I analyze the acoustic characteristics of a band and encode that in an application that, given the musical notation and words can replicate the song. How does this electronic cover band differ from the human cover band?

     

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      Huph, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

      Re: Another point to ponder

      What if I'm in really good Beatles cover band and...

      Well, ignoring the "really good" part, I suppose you could ask Oasis about this.

       

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    Ron (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Digital Remaster

    How would this ruling affect on the record labels remastering the original recording and applying for a new copyright? In essence the record companies are doing the same thing Bluebeat did with their process.

     

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      Huph, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

      Re: Digital Remaster

      It's a moot point, the record labels already own the recordings, they can do whatever they feel with them.

       

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