Beatles' First Single Enters Public Domain -- In Europe

from the when-I'm-64 dept

The Beatles remain the iconic pop group, so news on VVN/Music that their very first single has now entered the public domain is something of a landmark moment in music:

The Beatles first single, Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You, has entered the public domain in Europe and small labels are already taking advantage of the situation.

The European copyright laws grant ownership of a recorded track for fifty years, which Love Me Do just passed. That means that, starting January 1 of 2013, anyone who wants to put out the track is free to do so.
Unfortunately, if you're in the US, you'll probably have to wait until 2049 or so. And things are about to get worse in Europe too. As Techdirt reported, back in 2011 the European Union agreed to increase the copyright term for sound recordings by 20 years, despite the absence of any economic justification for this theft from the public domain (yes, this is theft, because it's taking something away that people had.)

Once the relevant legislation is passed around Europe, that means that most of the later Beatles singles -- and many other famous pop music hits from the 1960s -- won't be in the public domain there until the 2030s, rather than in the next few years. It's not yet clear whether the new 70-year term will be applied retroactively to works that have already entered the public domain, so Europeans may want to enjoy their right to distribute free copies of "Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You" recordings legally while they can....

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Filed Under: copyright, europe, public domain, the beatles


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  1. identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 15 Jan 2013 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: No, it's not theft

    if [having works given away for] free is working so well (and there's so much incentive to do so, and so much work being created and given away for free) why fight copyright at all?

    So your argument is that where there is a legal regime that permits a certain behavior, and where there are alternatives, the market can be trusted to ultimately determine which one is best, and we should sit back and let it, rather than tinker with the law?

    For example, you would support slavery in the antebellum south because, after all, the law enabled both the keeping of slaves and the freeing of slaves, and all the abolitionists had to do to prove their point was to demonstrate that it was more economically rational for slave owners to free their slaves than to keep them. No changes in the law were needed, nor force of arms.

    I'm not convinced.

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