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644824 Posts in 25784 Topics by 3672 Members - Latest Member: MikeLover41 March 26, 2019, 07:46:02 AM
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Author Topic: The official status of unreleased material over 50 years old  (Read 1355 times)
Pet Sounder
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« on: December 28, 2018, 08:33:44 AM »

What is the official status of all unreleased Beach Boys recordings over 50 years old? 

For instance, on the Hawthorne release, there is a session excerpt of “The Little Girl I Once Knew”, which was recorded 53 years ago.  Does that mean the rest of the session for “The Little Girl I Once Knew”, including the backing track, which was never officially released, is now legal to download and possess? Or, does an official release of the song in any form still render unreleased material pertaining to that same song over 50 years old off the table?

If that’s the case, does that mean the alternate mixes, backing tracks, and a cappella versions of previously released songs have been included on recent archival releases, not for legal reasons, but simply to fortify a package that includes select unreleased songs that had to be released for legal purposes?

Just trying to understand what the dividing line is.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2018, 12:07:51 PM »

This question was batted around starting back in 2013 when the BB (and Beatles) "Copyright Extension" sets came out, because both contained some, but not all extant and already-booted alternate takes.

I believe it was generally established that any release of a given song covers all sessions related to that song. There are obviously some grey areas, as it's difficult to say how much a given session for a song is tied to the takes of the songs that were released. If a band records 20 takes of a song, and releases Take 15, then presumably all other takes are covered.

But, in an extreme example, what if a 1962 demo of "Slip on Through" somehow surfaced? What then? Such a recording would have nothing directly to do with the officially-released *recording* released in 1970.

But given the general "as long as a take of the song has been released already" rule, it's then important to note that "Copyright Extension" releases from the BBs have usually included far more than they *had* to, especially studio sets like "Keep an Eye on Summer", the Party set, the Sunshine Tomorrow sets, the new 2018 studio sets, etc.

You can see that something like "Big Beat '63" seemed to be going primarily after compositions that had not been officially released via any recording. Things like "Thank Him", etc.

With live recordings, I'm not sure. I think it may be that each recording is its own copyright-able item, which might help to explain the more healthy-sized bulk release in the last 4-5 years from the BBs of at least most of the soundboard-quality recordings they have available.

So is an unreleased audience recording from 1964 now public domain? I don't know. Maybe?
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MaestroDavros
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 02:52:55 PM »

Ah, this is one of my favorite topics, although it must be pointed out that the 50 year rule only involves countries under EU jurisdiction, the United States have totally different term length laws for recorded music specifically, which as I just recently became aware are likely about to change for the somewhat better.

Before 2012 in the EU copyright law was simple; 50 years after either recording or release (whichever is more recent I think), and then into the public domain. All well and good except for one small problem: the years were slowly approaching the 1960's, which is still considered incredibly valuable and marketable. So what to do? Extend the term lengths, and pressure mounted by people in the recording industry. However, the EU legislatures decided on an interesting compromise: works that were already released were extended another 20 years, however in order to be protected unreleased material had to be released. Doing so would (as I understand) ensure a full 70 years be given from the moment of release. For example, the newly released material on the recent Copyright protection sets will go out of copyright in 2088, whereas the previously released material will come out of copyright much earlier, starting in 2038 & 2039 and working up from there with material released on rarities collections. Rights holders have until the last second of the year to release this material for protection, failure to do so before the stoke of midnight ensures its release in the public domain.

It seems as though studio and live performances have different "rules" for protection. For studio, so long as 1 take from a particular session date is released, that song from that date is protected. If a remake was recorded later the process must be repeated. For live shows, everything (that exists at least) from a particular concert must be released for full protection, hence why we've been getting these huge live dumps.

The Beatles stopped doing theirs mostly because they really didn't need to (outside of those demos), as they don't have much unprotected unreleased material out there, and the BBC recordings as I understand have a totally different set of rights laws applied to them (over the air), so those ceased. But, to answer your question HeyJude yes, an audience recording from 1964 from anything other than the Sacramento shows would technically be in the public domain, at least in the EU. Again, the US have different laws.
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 05:44:25 PM »

Interesting topic. I remember several years ago UK singer Cliff Richard going to court wanting an extension. He is still performing at almost 80 however like many teen artists of the time, he could never dream there would still be a market decades later.
And the European Union reference. With the UK pulling out in March after over 40 years, surely a can of worms about to be opened do you think?
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Pet Sounder
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2019, 09:36:10 AM »

Thanks for the info!

While I'm incredibly grateful for the archival material released thus far, it still hurts to think about all of the sessions, backing tracks, and other odds and ends that may never see an official release.  I don't understand why all parties involved wouldn't want to profit off of digital-only releases of all sessions, especially if they won't be used for future releases. I'd trade complete sessions and backing tracks any day over the huge quantities of concert recordings.

Empty the vaults!
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Ian
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2019, 07:05:36 PM »

While I’ve loved all the releases-I totally understand why some stuff is in the vaults-not everything recorded is gold. Just to name one example-battle hymn of the republic from 1974 is truly deserving of remaining in the vault forever (and if you want it’s been booted) but it won’t do the BBs artistic reputation any favors to officially release it. I used to paint and draw and if I didn’t like something I did-i wouldn’t want anyone to see it-I’m sure artists feel that way about some music they’ve recorded
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Pet Sounder
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 09:32:13 AM »

I understand what you're saying there, Ian.  I suppose I'm thinking of emptying the vaults in regards to complete sessions for songs already released.  For example, I have a hard time seeing a digital release titled "Pet Sounds: The Complete Sessions" not selling well.  Such a release, as well as the others, could be marketed as hearing Brian work in real time, as opposed to edited highlights from sessions.
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BeachBoysCovers
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 11:00:04 AM »

For example, I have a hard time seeing a digital release titled "Pet Sounds: The Complete Sessions" not selling well. 

I don't think digital release and sell well go together in general...
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