Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Court Kills Preposterous Pirate Beatles Site

It’s official: You still can’t buy the Beatles’ songs on the Web, despite the efforts of a site that attempted to do so by rewriting copyright law on the fly.

A Los Angeles federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against BlueBeat, a California-based site that had briefly sold the band’s music, arguing it used “psycho-acoustic simulation”–basically, making a note-for-note recording of the band’s recordings–to make the songs its own.

The same judge had already issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of music label EMI Music Group against the site earlier in the month and had scheduled a hearing for Friday, Nov. 20. But this ruling cancels out the hearing and by any reasonable standard should end the case.

Then again, this whole story has been a head-scratcher from the start, so who knows? Maybe the BlueBeat guys will try an even more preposterous argument down the road.

Part of me thinks that the whole thing may be some sort of Negativeland/U2 hack/stunt/performance art piece. Or maybe there were a lot of mood-altering substances involved. Or maybe it’s part of a conspiracy to create work for copyright lawyers.

Whatever. I’ve embedded the court ruling below, if you insist on reading it. But here’s a clip of Richard Pryor reading the alphabet on “Sesame Street,” which is just as edifying and much more entertaining.

bluebeat beatles suit

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work