It's Not Stealing Music if it's a MIDI File

Coldplay at Honda Center
Coldplay at Honda Center
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

​Online music company BlueBeat.com was a site that sold popular music on the Internet-at a fraction of the cost. For $0.25, they sold songs by the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Katy Perry, the Beatles and more. 

They didn't have rights to these songs from EMI or any publishing house, so how was it possible that they could sell these songs online? BlueBeat argued that "the songs on the website only sounded like exact copies. Site operators extracted sound waves from each song and then replicated them artificially. Attorney Archie Robinson said,Your human ear would be tricked into thinking it's the same sound...We've created an artificial sound that's exactly like the Beatles, only better."

EMI Music Group wasn't having it, and filed a federal copyright-infringement case against lawsuit BlueBeat.com. It was scheduled to go on trial this week in Santa Ana's federal courthouse--instead, they've agreed to pay $950,000 to settle a lawsuit, says the OC Register.

EMI was originally seeking "as much as $150,000 for each copyrighted work illegally used by BlueBeat," but decided to settle because "The (settlement) number got so low that it made more sense," Robinson said. Still, BlueBeat is not taking no for an answer, and is trying to convince the U.S. Copyright Office that the songs it had on its website were different from the originals. 


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