I’m not posting this as another musical thing for me to drool over, though it likely wouldn’t be too bad. I’m noting it because it’s one of those very rare cases when a record company actually tells us the truth.
In order to take advantage of new copyright extension rules in the European Union, whoever puts out Bob Dylan records these days is allowing you to get your hands on 4 discs worth of live performances and studio outtakes from the early 60’s. Wait, scratch that. *You* probably can’t get your hands on the discs anymore, since only 100 copies of the 86 track collection were pressed. If you don’t care about physical objects though, you’re in luck. A digital version will also be available.
Ok, so what’s all this about copyright rules? It just looks like another batch of goodies for Dylan super fans.
It does, but it’s made up of 50-year-old material that’s about to enter the public domain and is called the 50th Anniversary Collection and is subtitled The Copyright Extension Collection, Volume 1, so its purpose seems pretty clear.
Boyle says Dylan’s label appears to be exploiting an obscure but potentially lucrative change in European copyright law.
The European Union recently extended the term of copyright for sound recordings from 50 years to 70 years. But, there’s a catch.
“You actually have to have, at some point, distributed these songs during that initial 50-year period. These were masters that were lying in the vaults,” Boyle says, “and none of them had ever seen the light of day. And so he had to get them out before that 50-year period expired in order to get the extra 20 years.”
Because this material was recorded in 1962 and 1963, the label essentially has to use it or lose it to the public domain.
If I were a bettin’ man, I’d tell you to start looking out for Copyright Extension collections from every artist under the sun. No way nobody else hasn’t thought of this or won’t take advantage of it now that someone else has. It’s been nice knowin’ ya, public domain.