Perhaps I've missed it, but I don't see anywhere in the directive that it says this is not retroactive. Could you please point me to the pertinent section?
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Pekka Gronow
Sent: September-23-11 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 Europe.
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