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Unreleased 1963 Beatles Tracks On Sale To Preserve Copyright 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Back in 1963, the Beatles did some performances for the BBC and other places. The songs were recorded, but never officially released. Now, 50 years later, Apple has packaged all 59 tracks together and put them up for sale on iTunes for $40. The reason? Copyright. The copyright for unreleased works expires 50 years after the works are recorded. By releasing the 59 tracks on iTunes before the end of December, the songs will be protected under copyright law for 20 more years."
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Unreleased 1963 Beatles Tracks On Sale To Preserve Copyright

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  • Apple or Apple Corps (Score:5, Informative)

    by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:19AM (#45724965) Homepage

    No, Apple is not packaging them up and putting them on iTunes. Apple doesn't own the copyrights. Apple Corps, the corporation founded by the members of the Beetles who do have the copyrights, is the one releasing them on iTunes.

    When you have two entities that have almost the same name involved in the same story, it makes a different to differentiate the two to be absolutely clear. But this is Slashdot after all...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:26AM (#45725027)

    Please don't type half your post in the subject, it makes your post unreadable. Especially when using alternative browsing methods.

  • Re:Never again (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:44AM (#45725137)
  • by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:59AM (#45725235) Homepage

    What does the USPTO or patent law have anything to do with this? It's a British COPYRIGHT law that was passed following a change to a European law. Patents and trademarks are not at play here. Nor is US copyright law.

    Even if it was about US copyright law, it's not abuse. It's following the law. If Apple Corps lobbied to have the law change, then maybe it's abuse. But they didn't. They just applied the law and the protection it granted to their work. Which is their right under copyright law.

  • by ATMAvatar (648864) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @10:00AM (#45725247) Journal
    True, and originally, the trademark dispute between the two was settled with a pittance and an agreement by Apple, Inc. not to sell music []. However, they managed to win over a judge when iTunes came out and then wrest control of the trademark away from Apple Corps (perhaps better known as Apple Records) shortly thereafter.
  • Re:Never again (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @10:38AM (#45725619)

    The estate of Michael Jackson owns most of the Lennon/McCartney catalog, last time I looked...

  • Re:yea right (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @11:39AM (#45726231) Journal

    Isn't that the entire purpose of copyright law? To encourage the release of artwork?

    Not originally, no.
    Copyright was originally meant as a means of censorship and was entirely focused on publishers, not authors. []

    "An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses."

    The actual history of Anglo copyright goes back another 120ish years when the crown first decided that censorship was important and started limiting the right to publish.

    /For the sake of brevity, I won't get into monks writing curses against copying in their manuscripts

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @11:50AM (#45726343) Homepage

    There are 4 reasons we don't:
    1. If we release the copyright we have on the text of the song, all that really happens is that the company who owns the copyright to the recordings of the song (also mostly from the 1950's - a 1957 version by Lonnie Donnegan actually reached #1 on the charts at one point) simply gets to keep what they're currently paying us.

    2. ASCAP is involved in the legal side of things. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but they're usually pretty vicious about hanging onto the songs they have a right to (and sometimes the songs they don't). Again, it might be that whatever we don't see simply goes to ASCAP.

    3. We don't take any kind of steps to enforce it against small performances or individual recordings. So Paul McCartney might have to pay someone who pays someone who eventually pays us, but a high school chorus or a traveling folk singer is not going to run into a problem if they download it from somewhere.

    4. My family gives away the money we get to a charitable organization in the region where my grandfather collected the song.

    In short, renouncing the copyright only benefits some big corporations at the expense of charity.

  • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @11:53AM (#45726379)

    And more to the point, the material would not have fallen into the public domain anyway -- the summary is wrong, following as it does the lead paragraph of the CNN article, which is wrong. If you look halfway down the article it says:

    The British government, following the change in European copyright law, implemented a law last month providing "that if a record label is not commercially releasing a track that is over 50 years old, then the performers can request that the rights in the performance revert to them -- a 'use it or lose it' clause," the government's website said.

    (my emphasis)

    The public domain is not affected by this law in the slightest: it's between the Beatles and Apple Corp. Apple doesn't want the McCartney and the other 3's families getting hold of the material and then selling it themselves for a higher percentage, so they've rushed this out to hold onto their cut.

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney