BlueBeat Loses Copyright Case

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled against a website that offered digital tracks of Beatles songs last year, deciding it violated copyrights and presented unfair competition to music companies.

BlueBeat.com reportedly streamed and sold thousands of digital tracks by the Fab Four and artists including Coldplay and Lily Allen for several days before it was shut down in Nov. 2009.

In court, BlueBeat owner Hank Risan argued against the charges, claiming he’d pioneered a “psycho-acoustic simulation” recording method that created unique versions of the copyrighted material offered through his site.

U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton Tucker didn’t buy it.

“Risan’s obscure and undefined pseudo-scientific language appears to be a long-winded way of describing ‘sampling,’ i.e. copying, and fails to provide any concrete evidence of independent creation,” she wrote in her ruling.

While the ruling did not note the damages Risan and BlueBeat may owe companies including EMI Group, the site acknowledges it distributed more than 67,000 Beatles songs before a judge issued a preliminary injunction last year, according to court documents.

Beatles music recently became available for digital download through iTunes, where the group’s songs are being sold for $1.29.