Thursday, January 24, 2013

How To Extend Copyrights in Europe

Here is an interesting story from Sweetwater Sound’s inSync newsletter. The European Union is extending copyright in sound recordings to 70 years, from its current 50. This makes a certain kind of economic sense, if you think about the consequences of the Beatles records, for example, falling into the public domain.

However, to qualify, a recording has to have been released. So what do you do, if, like Bob Dylan, you have a bunch of tracks recorded in the early '60s unreleased in the vault that are about to "expire"? If you're Dylan, you release a 50th Anniversary Collection 4-CD set in Europe subtitled The Copyright Extension Collection, Volume 1.

Only 100 CD copies were made, and downloads were available only for a limited time. It nevertheless fits the publication requirement of the new law. Surely other recording artists will do the same thing with some of their outtakes, including songs that may not hold that much interest for the public. The cost of releasing an album, if it is not important to sell many copies, is now less than the cost of having your lawyer advise you that it is a good idea to do so.