Website selling cut-price Beatles downloads ordered to pay $1m

Beatles downloads

A website that sold cheap downloads of popular music tracks has been ordered to pay $1m to the rights holders, EMI. sold tracks by bands such as the Beatles for as little as 25 cents, around 16p, less than a third of the cost on iTunes, reports the BBC.

Company boss, Hank Risan, claimed an unusual defence when brought to court, telling the judge they were psycho-acoustic simulations.

He said: "Psycho-acoustic simulations are my synthetic creation of that series of sounds which best expresses the way I believe a particular melody should be heard as a live performance."

The US district court judge wasn't taken by the idea and ruled against, which has now agreed to pay the substantial damages.

The website has now been banned from selling any music licensed to companies that are currently pursuing court action.

The Beatles' back catalogue went on legal sale on iTunes in Novemner last year.

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).