Hank Risan was ordered to pull The Beatles' catalog from the BlueBeat website this week, but those weren't the actual recordings. The tracks were "psycho-acoustic simulations" of the songs. Too bad that defense will never hold up in court.
Hank calls the technique equivalent to a virtual cover band playing The Beatles' songs. He bought all of their albums, had a computer analyze the waveforms to determine their pitch, timbre and other defining qualities, then destroyed the original copies of the music.
He then had a computer reconstruct the songs based on the data it collected from analyzing the waveforms. It wasn't a recording, but a complete mathematical rebuild of the song.
That's really cool, and incredibly impressive that he managed to recreate the tracks from scratch like that, but there's no way the defense stands a chance against EMI's lawyers. I think I remember this argument being tried before with MP3s. A defendant claimed that because a majority of the waveform data was thrown away during encoding, it was not identical to the original recording.
Nice try, said the judge. As long as it's audibly identifiable as a certain recording, it constitutes as copyright infringement. At least that's what I remember. If anyone knows the specific case or I'm completely wrong, please chime in. Have fun in court November 20, Mr. Risan. [FastCompany]