BlueBeat’s Innovative Defense That Will Never Hold Up in Court

Illustration for article titled BlueBeat’s Innovative Defense That Will Never Hold Up in Court

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]

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I don't know, the lawsuit with the lady who spilled coffee over herself actually succeeded. #riaa