Thank you, Pekka.
It appears, then, that early Elvis is PD but not the Beatles. All mono only
recordings should be free as well as early stereo. 78 to CD reissues, even
watermarked ones, are PD which undoes the protection Bear Family had as a
result of the favorable decision (to them) of the suit cited earlier. Is
that your reading as well?
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Pekka Gronow
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 4:51 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Copyright extension in EU
This is just a clarification to some recent discussions on copyright in
The EU finally passed the 20-year extension (from 50 to 70) of copyright on
sound recordings a few weeks ago I have not yet had time to figure out when
this will enter into force - prrobably 1.1.2012 (this is written in the text
but you need a lot of legalese to find it).
The extension is NOT retroactive. All recordings which are in public domain
in Europe today will remain so forever (or until the next directive). A
European record company can still reissue any recording first published in
1945, or even in 1960, as long as they pay the standard mechanical royalty
to the composers. It is possible to use any prior publication as the source
of the reissue - the original shellac, a vinyl reissue, or even a recent CD
reissue. A restoration does not create a new copyright under the directive,
unless new sounds have been added (a new band behind Caruso). This was
actually one of the reasons presented by the EU Commission for the need of a
directive. It would also apply to reissuing US recordings in Europe, but in
the USA the law is of course different. Pre-1960 European recordings may
well be protected in the USA (Naxos decision).
The full text can be found at