The Big 4 record label EMI sued Bluebeat.com this week, claiming the site is selling unauthorized digital copies of the Beatles albums.
The site sells each track for $0.25 but EMI says they have “not authorized content to be sold on Bluebeat.com.”
Bluebeat garnered the attention of the label and curious downloaders because the Beatles tracks have never been officially been digitized, and certainly would not sell for 25 cents when all other tracks on iTunes sell for $1.
Perhaps just as notably, Bluebeat allows for free streaming of some tracks, including those by the Beatles.
Bluebeat, in their defense, say that they actually own the tracks and the copyrights for those tracks. What? MRT, the parent company behind Bluebeat, says they ran the Beatles tracks through psycho-acoustic simulation and added new pictures to the MP3s, thus making them completely new pieces of media. Media of which they own the copyrights for.
For those confused, (everyone), “Psychoacoustic simulations are a synthetic creation of that series of sounds which best expresses the way I believe a particular melody should be heard as a live performance,” says MRT CEO Hank Risan.
Today, a federal judge has ruled in favor of EMI and granted the label a temporary restraining order against Bluebeat and MRT. Judge Walter almost immediately agreed that Bluebeat was not selling new tracks, just copyrighted materials run through “psycho-acoustic simulation.”
The judge also tore apart their other argument of having all new “audio visual work” by saying (via Ars): “However, as one court obviously pointed out. [Defendant] cannot invalidate the copyright of an independent and preexisting sound recording, simply by incorporating that sound recording into an audiovisual work.’”
Result for: temporary restraining order
Two days ago we reported that Real’s new legal DVD ripper, RealDVD, was temporarily not available, but it appears now that the restraining order on the software will not be lifted until the district judge that placed it “learns from experts, including the court’s, how the software functions.”
RealNetworks claims that the software “allows consumers to securely store, manage and play their DVDs on their computers” and “does not enable users to distribute copies of their DVDs.” It also mentions that RealDVD adds another layer of DRM to the ripped movies which makes it much harder to move to films off the computer that has the program installed.
The software will not reappear on Real’s site or in stores until at least late November, which is the next time U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel will have a hearing.
“I am extending the temporary restraining order because I’m not satisfied in the fact that this technology is not in violation,” Patel added. “There are serious questions about copyright violations. There are questions about violations of the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), and violations of these companies’ agreement.”
Since the launch of RealDVD on September 30th, nothing has gone the way RealNetwork’s had hoped. First, the company preemptively sued the Hollywood studios to have a court rule that the software was completely legal.
Hours later, the MPAA countersued and obtained the restraining order on the software.