The music streaming website BlueBeat.com has reportedly been fined just less than $1 million after breaching copyright law through the unauthorised selling of Beatles songs online.
BlueBeat, a company based in the US, began offering Beatles tracks for download sale in October 2009. The site charged music fans around $0.25 (£0.15) per download and was estimated to have sold around 67,000 Beatles tracks.
Record company EMI immediately sued the website for copyright infringement and managed to secure a temporary injunction to stop BlueBeat selling the tracks.
In its defence, BlueBeat said it was selling “psycho-acoustic simulations” of the Liverpool band’s hits, and therefore owned the copyright and had the right to sell them. This defence was not successful, and BlueBeat has now been fined $950 million (£595,320) for copyright infringement. Presuming the company has professional indemnity insurance in place for infringement issues, this cover will come in very useful indeed.
In addition to the substantial fine, the California-based BlueBeat has been ordered to stop selling, distributing or linking to any of the artists or works owned by major record labels EMI, Virgin Records America or Capitol Records.