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Federal judge: Two online sites selling Beatles songs to remain shut down

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Two websites that sold songs by The Beatles for 25 cents apiece should remain shut down indefinitely, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter issued a preliminary injunction against BlueBeat.com and Basebeat.com at the request of music company EMI Group. The injunction prohibits the sites and their owner, Hank Risan, from streaming or selling songs by the Fab Four and other popular artists, including Lily Allen and Coldplay.

A hearing in the case had been scheduled for Friday, but Walter decided the issue based on pleadings by attorneys for Risan and the music label.

A phone message left Wednesday evening for Risan's attorney was not immediately returned.

EMI Group sued Risan and the sites earlier this month to stop the sites from streaming or selling its music. It claimed the sites were selling high-quality versions of copyrighted songs, including Beatles music, which has never been legally released digitally.

Risan argued in court filings that he had re-recorded the music and inserted artistic touches based on a technique he pioneered called "psycho-acoustic simulation."

The process involved re-recording store-bought CDs and improving the quality and trying to simulate how a live listener would hear the music, Risan explained in filings.

Attorneys for the music label dismissed the explanation in a filing as "technobabble and doublespeak."


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