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. icon
    Richard (profile), 16 Jan 2013 @ 3:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, it's not theft

    just wondering why you put so much effort into fighting copyright when it shouldn't be needed 10 years after creative commons

    Because the copyright industry is putting a lot of effort into fighting against creative commons.

    1) They try to shut down the distribution channels used by free content.

    2) They sow FUD around free content distibution trying to discourage the masses from using it.

    3) They try to tax free content (via levies on media, venue licensing etc.)

    In short free content and copyright cannot coexist for long - the copyright lobby knows this and is trying to destroy free content. We have to respond to that.

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