You’re going to hear sooner or later, and feel rather old when you do: The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” is now in the public domain, at least in Europe.
How could that be? Though not the most durable Beatles song, it hardly seems to be from another time, though given the passage of 50 years, it most certainly is. Remember ‘60s hysteria? The kids who wrote “Beatles” on their contact lenses because they couldn’t think about anything else? The girls who saved the Kleenex tissues into which they’d wept at the Shea Stadium concert?
Yet the music itself doesn’t feel Paleolithic. Though the world has been anything but stationary, pop music isn’t as disposable as it was once assumed to be — one reason why the laws are on the verge of changing. By November, the European Union will vote to extend the copyright on recordings from 50 to 70 years. It’s a potentially important moment in the world of art and commerce.
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