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The case of iTunes and the missing Beatles tracks

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Apple records, via the Universal Music Group, were widely rumoured to be reluctantly releasing a cache of rare Beatle tracks via iTunes today in order to comply with copyright law. But scour the site for the mythical Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 and they are nowhere to be found.

Early reports suggest that 2 hours and 29 minutes' worth of Beatles archive recordings appeared on iTunes sites in the early hours of Tuesday morning around the world before being taken down shortly afterwards. The staged release seems to have started in Asia, Australia and New Zealand with further reports of appearances in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Lebanon. CNN reports that the recordings briefly surfaced at midnight in the UK. None of these iTunes sites currently host the tracks. If fans didn’t download them in that brief and unadvertised window, it is already too late. Last month, music copyright was extended to 70 years (after lobbying byCliff Richard on behalf of the music industry). However, unreleased material only has 50 years of copyright protection. So anything recorded by the Beatles (and other artists) in 1963 and not yet in the public domain would automatically lose protection in 2014. By putting these old recordings out, however briefly and obscurely, Apple have now established copyright for the next 70 years. Which is probably about how long you will have to wait to hear them.

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Source: The Telegraph, UK

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