EMI is suing an online music site, BlueBeat.com, for selling mp3s of The Beatles' songs without permission.
The group's back catalogue has never been available as a legal digital download, and Apple Corps has for many years been fiercely protective of the ways the music can be distributed. Negotiations to sell The Beatles' songs on iTunes have stalled, although Sir Paul McCartney has expressed willingness to make them available.
BlueBeat began selling the recordings on 30 October, and streaming the songs from the site. The company is a subsidiary of Media Rights Technologies (MRT), which has previously supported digital rights management and the protection of copyrighted material.
At the time of writing, BlueBeat is selling the remasters, premasters, Anthology releases, Love, Let It Be... Naked, Live At The BBC and the 1 compilation for 25 cents per track, plus a 30 cent processing fee. This is substantially less than many other digital distributors charge for downloads.
EMI are suing BlueBeat for copyright infringement in a US district court in California. BlueBeat claims that their services are legitimate, stating on their website that "Our MP3s are fully-licensed audio-visual works and BlueBeat.com pays all applicable royalties."