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January 6, 2014 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Copyright laws force Apple to release 59 Beatles tracks. "The only reason why they are doing this is to retain the copyright of this bootlegged material."
posted by paleyellowwithorange (52 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
That'd be Apple the record company, not Apple the shiny-widget company.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:23 PM on January 6 [8 favorites]


Dammit, release Carnival of Light already!
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:25 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Stormo, based in Norway, runs the "WogBlog – all things Beatle" blog. He said he was lukewarm about the release. "They are only releasing what they know is floating about and they are keeping the rest for their vaults – they are kind of doing the fans a bit. It's only material that people already have in their bootleg collections ... we're getting the least possible material."

Anyone know what the motivation for keeping the recordings in the vault is? I could understand (if not support) why they'd want to create artificial scarcity, but to not release recordings in any format at all seems like leaving money on the table.
posted by echo target at 1:30 PM on January 6


As it turned out, they were released very, very briefly.
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:33 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


That'd be Apple the record company, not Apple the shiny-widget company.

In other words, the real Apple, for those of us who remember the 60s.
posted by aught at 1:34 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


That'd be Apple the record company, not Apple the shiny-widget company.

Are you sure it's not Apple the Paltrow/Martin offspring?
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:35 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


In other words, the real Apple, for those of us who remember the 60s.

We're closer to 2060 than we are to 1960.

posted by 2bucksplus at 1:36 PM on January 6 [42 favorites]


Thanks Shmuel, that answers my question:

This exercise has not been about saving lost gems for future exploitation so much as protecting the Beatles brand. Without this little manoeuvre, a flood of cheap, sub-standard Beatles albums would have soon started appearing, with profits going to any enterprising salesman who could think of a catchy way to market the freely accessible songs.


Still not sure the world is really better off with these locked up, but I guess it makes some amount of sense for Apple.
posted by echo target at 1:37 PM on January 6


anyone who doesn't already have them and is interested in the beatles (or demos/alternate takes/studio sessions in general) should get their hands on the purple chick releases.
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


According to the article, this isn't about artificial scarcity. This is stuff created in 1963 that was technically unpublished under copyright law; under European law unpublished works become public domain 50 years after they're created. By releasing them they've been switched into the "published works" category, which extends the copyright term to 50 years after the author's death or something like that.

According to Wikipedia Carnival of Light was recorded in 1967, so if the same circumstances exist they'd have the same impetus to publish it in 2017 or thereabouts.
posted by XMLicious at 1:41 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Are you sure it's not Apple the Paltrow/Martin offspring?

Hm. Perhaps in this "corporations are people" age one of the companies has been incarnated in human form?
posted by aught at 1:42 PM on January 6


2bucksplus: "In other words, the real Apple, for those of us who remember the 60s.

We're closer to 2060 than we are to 1960.
"

I was born in the 1970s. I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to remember either of the 60s.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:43 PM on January 6 [8 favorites]


i also quite enjoy the complete buddy holly released by purple chick.
posted by nadawi at 1:44 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


We're closer to 2060 than we are to 1960.

Gah, don't rub it in. (And I have to admit I didn't start buying records with the Apple logo on them until I was a teenager in the mid-70s.)
posted by aught at 1:45 PM on January 6


That'd be Apple the record company, not Apple the shiny-widget company.

In other words, the real Apple, for those of us who remember the 60s.

What about the real McIntosh?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:49 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I am only commenting on this to preserve my copyright on this comment.
posted by notme at 1:59 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


Slight tangent: who owns/owned the SR copyright for theDecca demos from 1962, and are they now public domain?

Those are decidedly not as crappy as most of what is in this new Apple release, and the Decca recordings are both historically important and a fun/interesting listen (Decca recorded bass guitar much better than EMI could at Abbey Road for instance, at least until '65).

I would love to see the "... flood of cheap, sub-standard Beatles albums would have soon started appearing..." defense deflated by seeing some bootleggers compete on creating the best package for some of this material.
posted by quarterframer at 2:03 PM on January 6


I just wish Apple (either one) would let the other music services get the Beatles catalog. *sigh*
posted by kmz at 2:04 PM on January 6


> What about the real McIntosh?

Since they were acquired by FSG, I've seen people denying that new McIntoshes are real McIntoshes. So it might not matter any more.
posted by ardgedee at 2:06 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


a flood of cheap, sub-standard Beatles albums would have soon started appearing, with profits going to any enterprising salesman who could think of a catchy way to market the freely accessible songs

Well, yes, and they would compete, and some releases would be of higher quality than others, and consumers would make their purchasing decisions based on that quality, and the releasers who produced the best collections of songs would thrive, and the others would perish. Don't people have any faith in the Free Market anymore?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:08 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


What about the real McIntosh?

You mean the even MORE insanely-priced McIntosh?
posted by grubi at 2:16 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


FWIW, it's more than just a download.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:21 PM on January 6


I am of the opinion that a copyright holder who refuses to market their content should lose copyright protection entirely.

If I have money, in my hand, and the copyright owner refuses to sell to me, I should be free to pirate that content without fear of legal consequences.

This should solve the problem with most orphaned works, and prevent rights holders from playing artificial scarcity games with their content.
posted by chimaera at 2:21 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


If I have money, in my hand, and the copyright owner refuses to sell to me, I should be free to pirate that content without fear of legal consequences.

Please explain why it is you are entitled to music a copyright owner doesn't want to release.
posted by item at 2:32 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


I am of the opinion that a copyright holder who refuses to market their content should lose copyright protection entirely.

There are more reasons to withhold content release than to produce artificial scarcity.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 2:34 PM on January 6


It's not weird that people pirate media, it is weird that they try so hard to justify it.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:36 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


It does imply that Apple Records will flash-release session tracks and other bootlegs once a year for the rest of the decade in order to preserve copyright on whatever else is in the vault.
posted by holgate at 2:37 PM on January 6


The Beatles ? Just a band.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:40 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


FWIW, it's more than just a download.

That's a different set of recordings than those under discussion.
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:45 PM on January 6


Mick and Keith have even more stuff than the Beatles languishing in the vaults and little interest in releasing it. Thank you Internets for making so much of it available.
posted by Ber at 2:54 PM on January 6


Please explain why it is you are entitled to music a copyright owner doesn't want to release.

I should probably amend/clarify: If something was previously in print/released, and they choose not to continue to make it available, my statement applies.

In that case, I consider the artwork abandoned, and if the rights holder refuses to make it available, it converts to the public domain.
posted by chimaera at 2:55 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I should probably amend/clarify: If something was previously in print/released, and they choose not to continue to make it available, my statement applies.

Is the artist not allowed to have second thoughts? For a relevant example: the Let It Be film.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 2:56 PM on January 6


Wow nice to see Toby Zeigler branching out
posted by Teakettle at 2:57 PM on January 6


Is the artist not allowed to have second thoughts? For a relevant example: the Let It Be film.

They're entirely allowed to have second thoughts. I've created more than my share of duds, but if someone wants to give me a few bucks for a crappy story I wrote ten fifteen years ago that appeared in some defunct lit mag, that's OK by me. Heck, I'd even try to talk them out of it. And if I want nothing to do with it anymore? Fine, let it go into the public domain.
posted by chimaera at 3:01 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


for those of us who remember the 60s.

If you remember the 60s, you weren't there.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:10 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Is the artist not allowed to have second thoughts? For a relevant example: the Let It Be film.
There's a big difference between something like Let It Be and something like Lolita Nation. The circumstances under which Lolita Nation is out of print pretty much justifies file-sharing and release into the public domain.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:15 PM on January 6


Please explain why it is you are entitled to music a copyright owner doesn't want to release.

Well, if you're in the EU you're entitled to it as a matter of law. But you've really got things the wrong way around: copyright laws are an artificial system that gives some people transferrable rights to sue. You need to ask "Why should we give a creator a transferrable right to sue people?" When you answer that you can ask "Do those reasons still apply when the creator hasn't released the work?" The USA and the EU answer that question differently, and at one point the USA's answer was very different to what it is today. But it's the right to sue which needs to be justified, not the right to copy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:24 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


Related, one year ago: Sony Issues Dylan CDs to Extend Copyright
posted by pmurray63 at 3:25 PM on January 6


If I have money, in my hand, and the copyright owner refuses to sell to me, I should be free to pirate that content without fear of legal consequences.

And what if the copyright holder is not in the business of manufacture, distribution, or anything else besides creating, and no one has offered to release it or all offers are ridiculously low because manufacturers know that if the copyright holder refuses long enough, they'll get 0 for their work instead of 0 + next to nothing?
posted by dobbs at 3:51 PM on January 6


At that point, the whole system of copyright as a government-enforced monopoly has already completely failed at its alleged purpose and justification—failed the people it's supposedly in place for the benefit of, who it pretty conspicuously hasn't been at the service of for well more than half a century—and so it probably makes sense to look somewhere other than the consumer for the cause of deprivation on the part of the author/artist/creator.
posted by XMLicious at 4:19 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Please explain why it is you are entitled to music a copyright owner doesn't want to release.

You know, I'm going to fall back on a defense that isn't always applicable in this situation: because they're the fucking Beatles

Numbers I can easily find put a floor on the amount of albums they've sold at over 250 million, with claimed sales more than double that, and a ceiling of 2 billion, which sounds pretty high but, honestly, not completely ridiculous.

Given that there are only 2 of them left (so presumably we don't have to worry about disturbing the artistic sensibilities or pocketbooks of the other 2), assuming they haven't bought and consumed actual 757s made of cocaine, presumably their grandchildren's college educations (or, if they invested wisely, summerhomes and sportscars and retirements) are already paid for, even if nobody ever again buys a Beatles product. Which, fat chance of that.

They got to be a big part of the zeitgeist, in a multigenerational way that was unprecedented and hasn't been duplicated, and they were, and are, handsomely rewarded for it. And we're not trying to prevent Sir Paul from making more records, or anyone from buying them, we're talking about some stuff he recorded before most of us were born. I feel as entitled to it, frankly, as I do to the works of Beethoven or Robert Johnson, it's part of our shared heritage.

This doesn't seem like a good hill to die on for defenders of the current copyright regime.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:51 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


My understanding is that Universal Music Group-owned EMI owns the rights to the Beatles recorded works, not Apple. If this stuff wasn't released officially by the 50th anniversary, then the ownership would revert to the Beatles; same deal with those 100 copy Bob Dylan Copyright Extension Collections that have started to appear.
posted by frodisaur at 5:09 PM on January 6


we're talking about some stuff he recorded before most of us were born. I feel as entitled to it, frankly, as I do to the works of Beethoven or Robert Johnson

Man, I remember the time I heard my first Beethoven bootleg. This guy came up to me and was all "DA DA DA DAAAAHN". He got it from his grandma who got it from her grandma who got it from her great-aunt and those stories, woo, Vienna, crazy times, man. Cra-zy times.
posted by holgate at 7:29 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


"In other words, the real Apple, for those of us who remember the 60s."

Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?
posted by klangklangston at 7:48 PM on January 6




klangklangston: ""In other words, the real Apple, for those of us who remember the 60s."

Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?
"

Paul McCartney was in a band after the Beatles?
posted by double block and bleed at 7:56 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


That's a different set of recordings than those under discussion.

These downloads are, I guess, the stuff that didn't make it onto the physical release, but it's all part and parcel of the same clump of recordings that had to be released before the copyright ran out.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:26 PM on January 6


(Or - wait - no? Those ones, the BBC owns the copyright, right? Still, there's a bunch of this stuff coming out all at once for the same reason, might as well mention it all.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on January 6


If you remember the 60s, you weren't there.

It helps to have only been in elementary school during the 60s... not old enough to do drugs but old enough to have the space program, Vietnam War reports on Huntley-Brinkley, and the '69 Mets to have made a lasting impression.
posted by aught at 7:15 AM on January 7


I remember they did this for Dylan, just a tiny release, and they quickly became one of the most expensive collectibles.
posted by Theta States at 8:35 AM on January 7


It's not weird that people pirate media, it is weird that they try so hard to justify it.

I don't try to justify it at all, in fact I don't care if media piracy destroys the entire entertainment industry.
posted by davey_darling at 9:03 PM on January 7




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