The current law requires songs to be 50 years old to hit public domain, but a move is in the works to change the requirement to 70 years, which may not happen until later this year. According to Complete Music Update, the change will not affect “Love Me Do” and it will remain in public domain.
The song fell out of protection on Dec. 31. There were efforts to change the requirement to 95 years as in the U.S., said CMU, but the agreement reached called for 70.
The song can be found on two similarly named sets: “1962 British Hit Parade, Part 2: July to December” (full track list) and “1962 British Hit Parade Part Three, September to December: Britain's Greatest Hits, Vol. 11” (full track list.).
"Love Me Do" isn't the only song being affected in this way. The Beatles' "P.S. I Love You" is available on a similar collection, "The 1962 British Hit Parade: The B Sides Part Three September - December" (full track list.). And "Please Please Me," which just passed its 50th anniversary of release, could also find itself on a similar compilation in the future.
And there are many such British hit parade sets available as labels take advantage of the public domain law in the UK. In fact, the public domain compilations are all over Europe. There are two interesting ones relating to Elvis Presley that examine his musical roots.
Bob Dylan came up with his own solution to the problem releasing “"The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1," in Europe, according to Bob Dylan Examiner Harold Lepidus.
As a Sony spokesman explained the move to Rolling Stone, "The copyright law in Europe was recently extended from 50 to 70 years for everything recorded in 1963 and beyond. With everything before that, there’s a new ‘Use It or Lose It’ provision. It basically said, ‘If you haven’t used the recordings in the first 50 years, you aren’t going to get any more.’”
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