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It seems like it was only yesterday that Apple made a big splash about obtaining the rights to carry the Beatles' music on iTunes, and now the folks over in Cupertino are planning to honor that access with the release of 59 rare and unheard recordings under the name of The Beatles' Bootleg Recordings 1963. And you don't even have to wait that long. According to CNN Money, the so-called "bootleg album" will pop up on the iTunes store as early as tomorrow morning.
Good news in itself, but there's a complex story surrounding the sudden appearance of these tracks after being buried for so long. Quite simply, it appears the copyright on the recordings was about to expire at the end of December, and releasing the compilation of outtakes, covers of other popular songs from the era, and BBC sessions allows the copyright to remain in effect for longer.
European law covers copyright for up to 70 years after a song has been recorded, but only if the album in question has seen an official release. Up until now, the "bootleg" recordings have not, and so they would expire now at 50 years. Making the album available for sale prevents that, which means the recordings won't go out of copyright until 2033 or so.
Naturally, some commentators bemoan such legal antics, but in any case this is good news for Beatles fans young and old. There's certainly still quite a few out there. More than two million songs from the Beatles' iTunes library were sold during the first week of availability in 2010, and by the end of two months that number had swelled to five million.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.