Web site to pay $950,000 for Beatles piracy

LOS ANGELES Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:41pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The owners of a California Web site that sold Beatles songs for 25 cents each before they went on sale legally through iTunes have agreed to pay the band's EMI Group label $950,000 to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit, court papers showed on Monday.

A federal judge ruled last December that Santa Cruz-based Media Rights Technologies violated EMI's copyrights by illegally selling the music of the Beatles and other acts such as Radiohead, Coldplay and Bonnie Raitt on its BlueBeat.com site in 2009.

Media Rights had claimed that BlueBeat.com wasn't posting the original material, but had re-recorded the music and inserted artistic touches based on a technique called "psycho-acoustic simulation."

U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton Tucker shot down that argument, labeling it as "obscure and undefined pseudo-scientific language (that) appears to be a long-winded way of describing 'sampling.'"

Apple Inc's iTunes store started selling Beatles songs last November, successfully concluding lengthy negotiations for the rights to arguably the most-prized catalog of the rock era.

Messages left with the attorneys for both sides were not immediately returned.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman, editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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