Website Pays $950,000 For Pirating the Beatles

Media Rights Technologies settles out of court for selling unauthorized MP3s by EMI artists

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Media Rights Technologies, a California-based company whose BlueBeat site was shut down by a federal court in December for selling deep-discounted MP3s by EMI artists such as the Beatles, Radiohead and Coldplay without permission, has agreed to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit for $950,000. The site had been selling Beatles songs for 25 cents each before the band had signed a deal with iTunes to officially license their music for digital sales.

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Media Rights had attempted to defend itself by claiming that the MP3s sold by BlueBeat were not the original recordings, but instead "psycho-acoustic simulations" with re-recorded parts and artistic touches not included on the official releases. This attempt to circumvent copyright with a variation on the "fair use" clause did not convince the court.