The California based company Santa Cruz-based Media Rights Technologies is paying EMI, the Beatles’ record company, a whopping $950,000 to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit after being found guilty in December, 2010 as reported by Reuters.
In 2009, Media Rights Technologies was selling Beatles songs for 25 cents each as well as tracks by Radiohead, Coldplay and Bonnie Raitt on its site BlueBeat.com. But the folks behind BlueBeat claim they weren’t posting original tracks, but songs they had re-recorded using a technique called “psycho-acoustic simulation.”
The techno-hippies didn’t impress U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton Tucker, the presiding judge who labeled the argument “obscure and undefined pseudo-scientific language (that) appears to be a long-winded way of describing ‘sampling.’”
Last November, Apple started selling Beatles songs, calling it “A Day You’ll Never Forget,” after concluding months of negotiations with EMI for legal rights to one of the most-coveted catalogs of rock music. So it’s understandable that EMI would go as far to sue a small, California based website, but it does raise important legal issues surrounding “sampling,” a technique which artists like E603 and Girl-Talk have used to “stimulate” their successful careers.