Why Unreleased Marvin Gaye, Supremes, Beach Boys Tracks Are Suddenly Appearing: EU Copyright Law
publish date: 2017-01-10
Are the major labels dropping under-promoted classic music to skirt international copright laws?
On Dec 30th, without much fanfare or marketing, Universal Music Group put out Motown Unreleased: 1966, a digital-only collection of 80 previously unavailable tracks by Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and lesser-known performers like the Underdogs. It’s one of a few recent archival releases of music from 1966 that may appeal to hardcore fans – and they have the European Union to thank.
In 2011, the EU updated copyright law in a way that means officially unreleased material could fall into the public domain 50 years after it was recorded. That would mean any company would be free to release it. In order to keep the copyright to such recordings – the law applies to live as well as studio material – artists and labels have been releasing them in what some fans call “copyright collections.”