Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beatles "Love Me Do" Turns 50 Goes Public Domain In The EU - For A Few Months Anyway

Gratefully, the EU has a much simpler and less mysterious copyright system.  Currently copyrights expire at 50 years, which means as of January 11th, the day of the single's release, The Beatles "Love Me Do" entered the public domain in Europe.  Plans are to adjust the copyright time-stamp upward to 70 years and bring "Love Me Do" and the like back into the protected fold.

This is expected to happen late this year, with the caveat that copyright holders must use or lose their copyrights.  If materials owned by record companies remain unreleased for a period of time, rights would then return to the work's creator.  This has led to a slew of vault releases in Europe, including an 86 track release of Bob Dylan's demos (his first album is already in the public domain).

Much more interesting will be to watch what happens on the internet between now and the end of year.  With the US Customs Department taking it upon themselves to claim the domain names of infringing websites, even those not in the US, I will be watching to see if some European sites pop-up offering for sale downloads of public domain Beatles, Dylan, and one can expect Stones, Yardbirds, Elvis etc. and what the reaction will be by the music industry and US government where copyright extends to . . . . oh who the hell thinks the Micky Mouse copyright laws here will ever allow anything made after Caruso to enter the public domain?
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