January 17, 2013 – 4:06 pm



Sony Music and Universal Music have both rushed out releases to ensure they continue to own the copyright to music recorded 50 years ago. Sony cynically manufactured just 100 copies of a Bob Dylan four-disc boxset, “The 50th Anniversary Collection,” which carries a subtitle - “The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1″. Universal had a digital-only release of Motown Unreleased: 1962 via

The Dylan set was exclusive to Europe.

In Europe, if you don’t issue recordings under a “use it or lose it” copyright extension law, the recordings fall into the public domain after 50 years. The US law is much tighter allowing artists to own the copyright, 70 years after they have DIED.

That’s right, WTF!

So why won’t Sony or Universal want to release material in their vaults? Not enough business to make it profitable? If not, why hold on to the material then, why not let it enter the public domain? There are many small, collector labels that would love to make proper CDs of 50-year-old recordings for the fans.

On May 24, Bob Dylan will be 72. His fans are around his age. How much longer can they be around, 10 years? 15 years? How many will have listening difficulties then?

What can music fans do to set the music free?

Your no B.S. comments will earn you a pass to free music.

Note: You can buy the Motown sets here.


Contest No. 01 / Contest No. 02 / Contest No. 03 / Contest No. 04 / Contest No. 05

Contest No. 06 / Contest No. 07 / Contest No. 08 / Contest No. 09 / Contest No. 10

Contest No. 11 / Contest No. 12 / Contest No. 13 / Contest No. 14 / Contest No. 15

Contest No. 16 / Contest No. 17 / Contest No. 18 / Contest No. 19 / Contest No. 20

Contest No. 21 / Contest No. 22 / Contest No. 23 / Contest No. 24 / Contest No. 25


  2. I can understand why someone would complain that they are losing money because of someone issuing the same music as they do.

    If the music is not generally available or even released at all no one is losing anything except the fans who have no chance to hear the music.

    As you say pure greed on behalf of the music companies.

    By TheOtherGuest on Jan 17, 2013

  3. They should realise that money making and protection of rights is not the be all and end all. The fans will demand that these obscure recordings are made available andthey should be sympathetic to the demand. Good music is always appreciated and lives on down the generations. I’ve been to see loads of bands who were in their heyday in the 1970s and I’ve always been surprised at the number of ‘youngsters’ in the audience. they know every word of all the songs. The music has been passed down from parents and although the artists may die - their music doesn’t. We’re still listening to Mozart, Bach etc - because the music is good enough and the demand is there.

    By Daij on Jan 17, 2013

  4. I think there should be a balance between the passion of the fans and the copyright issues. Probably publishing old stuff for a very cheap price would be perfect. US law sounds too tight to me though

    By frank capra on Jan 18, 2013

  5. Copyright law is so broken all over the world. I’m in Australia where our free-trade agreement makes US law our law, and it only benefits the large conglomerates. The artists themselves do not benefit.
    An interesting thing about music: if no one hears it, it does not exist.

    By Peter Nixon on Jan 18, 2013

  6. I am pretty sure if you check a dictionary you will see that the definition of music company is: A group of greedy individuals who have little regard for actual music.

    By rondelrio on Jan 18, 2013

  7. They must put music with low prices for all people.

    By Rochacrimson on Jan 19, 2013

  8. i’m surprised that ANYONE is still surprised by the behavior of the major record companies. they have been running scared for years…

    By Billy Jack on Jan 19, 2013

  9. Most styles of music are tied to the generation that grew up listening to it. After that generation dies off there will be no market for it and little interest in it. The time for them to act has passed but it’s not entirely too late. It would be in their best interest to open the vaults. Perhaps as cheap downloads as they are no longer interested in supplying a physical product. It would be a way for them to recoup some of the money they say they lose to bootlegs. But they would rather throw it in the trash than to pass it on to their valued customers.

    By sking on Jan 19, 2013

  10. Music companies only care about the bottom line. They don’t care about fans who truly love their music. Open the vaults already!

    By Phil on Jan 19, 2013

  11. whats odd is that dylan doesnt want his music in the public domain so he puts out 100 copies of this set. so clearly he doesnt care if he profits with these songs. that use it or lose it thing bothers him. so he’s using it. but he doesnt want to make any money with those songs or hed make more than 100 copies. so hes allowing some people to make $1000 on the copies they bought when they sell their copies on ebay. ironic. and forcing the issue on what appears to be relatively obscure songs to be posted online and / or ripped from these cds by one of the few who got themselves a copy and then pirating them by copying the songs and sharing them etc.
    he cutting off his own nose to spite his face. i dont get it. most people wouldnt have paid any attention to those 86 songs. now hes brought all kinds of attn to them and people are clamoring for them. money he was anxious to get his hands on for music he didnt want out of his hands is suddenly slipping thru the very fingers that he was clenching. if that isnt ironic nothing is.

    By darth on Jan 19, 2013

  12. It is not just the music companies that are intent on maximizing short-term profit at the expense of the end user/consumer, with no thought whatsoever to what happens in the long term. It is pretty much every big corporation out there. Should any of us be lucky enough to survive the current Depression and the Austerity measures designed to make it worse, we will look back on this point in mankind’s history as a time when stupidity and greed triumphed over common sense and anything good that remains in the hearts of the People. Fact is, I would never have heard about either of these releases except for this contest. The Dylan release is Europe only, and the Motown release is download only. I look to neither when seeking to purchase music from my favorite artists. Music companies can either continue to make a physical product and start selling it at a reasonable price, or they can lose me as a customer. If the music companies all die off before I do, that works for me. Only the artist has the right to control his/her own music vault. The music companies are too greedy to be entrusted with such a goldmine. If there are small collector labels who would do justice to CD releases of old recordings, then they should be allowed to do so, before the fans die off with the music still unheard.

    By aking on Jan 20, 2013

  13. I can’t wait until the record companies all go belly up. Greed is not always good. Let the artists own their unreleased tracks.

    By john on Jan 20, 2013

  14. Music Companies are all about the $$$
    have not figured out the digital age

    By Pete on Jan 21, 2013

  15. I don`t blame sony or dylan one bit.
    Perhaps both felt it just wasn`t the right time to release and this way they still have control over the music from pirates.

    By sluggo on Jan 21, 2013

  16. they dont have control over it tho. by putting out 100 copies offering perfect quality recordings they now give pirates (not bootleggers mind u) the ability and freedom to rip and distribute this material freely. most anyone who wants this item now can get it. i have now found it on pando and its all over the net. granted most of the places i found it were removed but its out there. i shared it with a bunch of people. but i didnt even realize that i had it in my email since the 11th on a name i dont use that often. point being with his greed hes screwing himself. hes 72. what the flock is he waiting for?

    By darth on Jan 22, 2013

  17. but i didnt even realize that i had it in my email since the 11th on a name i dont use that often.


    By DROPKICK SARGE on Jan 22, 2013

  18. We will never know the real reasons behind this but artists have rights too, and Dylan has earned the right to do whatever he wants with his music.
    I doubt very much its about money , with dylan it could`ve been because he was just feeling that way ,that day.

    By sluggo on Jan 22, 2013

  19. I don’t think Bob Dylan is greedy. He knows people can get his music for free. He also knows people still buy all his albums. He has enough money that he can retire anytime and live very comfortably. He tours because he wants to play for his fans. I, for one, regret none of the money I have spent to buy Bob’s albums on records, tapes, and CDs, and to see him in concert. I feel fortunate to have seen him when I did. The Copyright Extension Collection looks to me like a collection of outtakes that the record company owned and would release with or without Dylan’s blessing. That’s how it is in the music business. I prefer more music and less business. If Bob Dylan owned every recording he ever made, you can bet he would release anything worth hearing. He has already released the excellent Bootleg Series. I don’t think Bob has as much to fear from piracy as do younger artists. He used to care, but things have changed.

    By aking on Jan 22, 2013

  20. i’m with sluggo keep it out of the pirates hands and the artists should have the rights to their music

    By 95bobcat on Jan 23, 2013

  21. “point being with his greed hes screwing himself.”

    Yet another BS rationalization for your theft and distribution of someone’s music.

    I fail to see how it’s greed, when Sony and Dylan are in business to make money from his music. If it’s in public domain, they don’t make money on cover versions. Dylan’s first album is already public domain in Europe (like the Beatles “Love Me Do”), why not protect the rest of their assets? The title says it all.

    “hes 72. what the flock is he waiting for?”


    By Dingus on Jan 23, 2013

  22. Contracts for artists vary greatly, and an “established” artist will receive a much more lucrative deal than a newcomer. Some artists create music so they can tour with it, some tour only to support their albums. Desire for profit therefore varies greatly from artist to artist, though it is consistent from label to label. So enjoy any music that enters the public domain, and cheers to BigO!

    By TDC on Jan 24, 2013

  23. I would think that (maybe contractually), the record companies should owe it to their clients to maintain copyrights for as long as possible to maximize the artists’ ability to make some money off of their recordings. I think it’s up to the artists to “release” these recordings from copyright if that’s how they feel.

    In regards to listening difficulties, I’ve been wearing hearing aids for 15 years (I’m 49) and I enjoy listening to music daily. Just wish health insurance paid for them like they do glasses…cost me 6K! But to enjoy music they’re priceless to me!!

    By steve22 on Jan 25, 2013

  24. they are just waiting for europe to re legislate so copyright is extended, give it a few years and it will be 70_+ years after publication

    By Liam NSW on Jan 25, 2013

  25. if you do the Bootleg Series and make money off of them, it stands to reason you can make money here and definitely license it to a smaller label. I find this release to be truly bizarre. The EU copyright laws defy description

    By Walter O on Jan 27, 2013

  26. The record companies are dinosaurs still trying to hang on to their old business plan. If they released their old music at a reasonable price and in good quality, they would still make money as people could afford to buy it rather than rip it off online. Record companies don’t have to give things away, they just need to be less greedy.

    By Mackster on Jan 30, 2013

  27. Greedy? Sure. Short-sighted? Probably. Never underestimate a human being’s capacity for self-delusion. Still, there’s more recorded music available now than at any other time in human history. I, for one, am grateful.

    By tajackson on Jan 30, 2013

  28. The music industry has become too greedy…even the performing artist will attest to that. I say, BOYCOTT the large recording companies and buy only artist-produced recordings. Make those large companies pay for the manner they’ve treated the artists. Give the artists their fair share. That will bring the recording companies to their knees and force them to release copyrights to smaller companies.

    By Tom Billings on Jan 31, 2013

  29. Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper.
    The title says it all, the content of this well-written book even more.
    This is what they are doing: disrespecting loyal fans and music buyers. The way to the grave is paved with bad decisions.

    By John from Holland on Feb 1, 2013

  30. Which one’s Pink?

    By elvislives on Feb 4, 2013

  31. It puzzles me, especially with the Dylan set, whyt they would only publish 100 copies of it as an exercise when smaller labels could reproduce it. In the end this will backfire, copyright laws are a cat and mouse game. Elvis and Chuck Berry are already available in England by public domain and more will follow. But do not forget the power of Disney, which led the charge to rewrite copyright laws to maintain their characters even as they adapted folk tales into their most successful films.

    By Tony on Feb 7, 2013

  32. Agree with the opening statements, small/collector labels would do wonders with such recordings and probably win some Emmy’s etc. for their efforts.

    By Bubbles on Feb 10, 2013

  33. FIRST THINGS FIRST: Sony & Universal are thieves and criminals of the first order. To not publish Dylan Music thats been in the can for AGES is completely foolish. If they insist on making BIG MONEY on the music then offer the recordings for sale at an outrageous price. I’m sure their consciences would allow that.
    Bob has been such an influence on so many that keeping “jewels” as they most likely are out of the public’s ability to consume/enjoy it is morally wrong. Thats a weak argument though as these companies have no conscience. All the years have gone by and the music needs to be made available; somehow to all.

    By John McNea on Jun 5, 2013

  34. Good songs never die, but we must keep it alive.

    By Belasco on Dec 30, 2013

  35. NOTHING. Music is never REALLY free. I’d like a Rega turntable; even a really old one! NOT FREE. The record companies are holding onto music that’s absolutely ready to market but they’re waiting for a time when the ‘audience’ will pay more and the music will be possibly more appreciated….Bullshit: thats the company line; these thieves are holding and refuse to let go of/give up on or sell just about anything. Here is where they call the Catalog card and claim it’s the artist’s legacy they’re protecting. All the while not paying the artist for the work…..

    By John PMcNea III on Jan 13, 2016

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