Beatles rarities released to extend copyright protection

In a move that could become a trend for vintage acts, Apple Records are to release 59 rare and unheard Beatles recordings in a bid to stop their copyright protection expiring.

The digital compilation includes recordings which have long been available as bootlegs but never been made legally available, including outtakes, demos and live BBC radio performances.

The lack of fanfare surrounding the release suggests that the move is a response to recent changes in European Union copyright law. While the law was recently amended to extend copyright from 50 years to 70 years after a song is released, that does not apply to unreleased material, which enters the public domain 50 years after being recorded.

If The Beatles chose not to release the recordings before the end of this year, other record labels could in theory step in and release them.

The compilation, which hits iTunes on December 17, includes 44 unreleased songs recorded for BBC programmes in 1963 plus unused takes from studio recording sessions.

Columbia Records recently released a second collection of the band’s radio performances and interviews recorded at the BBC between 1962 and 1965, and last month they were revealed to be the most pirated act in the world. [via BBC]

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