BlueBeat Sells Beatles MP3s, Permission Be Damned

Perhaps you're heard the expression "shoot first, ask questions later?" That pretty well sums up the philisophy of Santa Cruz, Calif.-based BlueBeat.

First off, the company has started selling MP3 music downloads for the low low price of 25 cents a track. In case you've been living under a rock, that's a heck of a lot less than the 69 cents, 99 cents, or $1.29 that Apple charges on the iTunes Store, the 99 cents of typical tracks on Amazon, and the price of music on every other legitimate music download service.

The bigger shocker, however, is that BlueBeat seems to be the only Website selling The Beatles' catalog as downloads. That's most likely because the Fab Four have yet to license their music for sale online. So how is all this legal? I'm willing to say that it's not.

To try it out, I purchased the 2009 remastered version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as 160-kbps MP3 files for a grand total of $3.55 (13 tracks at 25 cents each plus a 30 cent service fee that BlueBeat says PayPal charges for every order). I can't verify that it is indeed the recently released remastered version, but it was definitely the album I know and love.

The site also offers music from lots of other bands, as well as free streaming music, although there doesn't appear to be Mac streaming support right now (the site says its in beta, and that "all systems and browsers may not be fully supported yet").

The site's Terms of Use includes an interesting section about copyright. It reads, in part:

If you believe in good faith that materials hosted by BlueBeat infringe your copyright (for example, materials posted by BlueBeat on one of our Forums), you (or your agent) may send us a notice requesting that the material be removed, or access to it blocked.

We suggest that you consult your legal advisor before filing a notice or counter-notice. Also, be aware that there can be penalties for false claims under the DMCA.

In other words, we're going to sell what we want for however much we want. If you have a problem with it, file a DMCA takedown notice. But you'd better have a good lawyer, because otherwise you're going to be in big trouble.

If the situation sounds familiar, that's because a Website called allofmp3.com tried the same thing a few years ago. One big difference is that allofmp3.com was located in Russia, while BlueBeat is situated in northern California.

In any case, I don't expect the site will be in business for long.

[Hat tip: Wired]

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