A website that illegally sold Beatles downloads in 2009 has been ordered to pay almost $1 million to the labels that hold the rights.
The website, Bluebeat.com, began selling the downloads in 2009 for 25 cents per song. At the time, the Beatles’ songs were not yet licensed for digital sale, and several labels took legal action.
A judge ruled against Bluebeat in December, and the website has now agreed to pay $950,000 to EMI.
Though the website has agreed to pay the fee to settle the copyright infringement lawsuit, they still maintain that they have done nothing wrong.
According to company boss Hank Risan, the sound recordings on the site were “authored” by psycho-acoustic simulation. “Psycho-acoustic simulations are my synthetic creation of that series of sounds which best expresses the way I believe a particular melody should be heard as a live performance,” he said.
To paraphrase, the website offered imitations that somehow sounded exactly like the originals.
The court felt this explanation was inadequate and ruled against Bluebeat. The website is no longer allowed to offer the music from any of the labels that are suing it.