Brace yourselves for the inevitable covers!
Get ready to bust out that acoustic guitar and brush up on that harmonica because thanks to a legal loophole, the Beatles’ early classic “Love Me do” is now currently in the public domain which means it’s free to be covered by anyone without approval or compensation of any kind for those involved in its creation.
But before anyone here in the States goes and hits that rec button – it only applies to Europe. For those of you unaware, European copyright laws protect a recorded track for fifty years which "Love Me Do" has just passed as of January 1.
And as you can imagine, small labels across the continent have already started taking advantage of the opportunity by rushing out their own version of the song and you can expect plenty more where that came from.
Unfortunately for all of you out there with the hopes of having a royalty free Beatles cover band, other songs from the Fab Four are expected to avoid a similar fate as the current European copyright law is under consideration for an amendment this year.
If the amendment is to pass – which pretty much looks like a given – the copyright period would stretch from 50 years to 70, making it much closer to what we have here in the States (having a threshold of 95 years).
The new law will include a "use it or lose it clause," meaning that labels who hold the rights to recordings released before 1963 must make them available for consumption and purchase, or else the artist can claim control of the copyright.
The upcoming rule recently prompted Sony to release a limited-edition collection of 86 Bob Dylan outtakes in order to retain its copyright on the material. The copyright for Dylan's debut album expired along with "Love Me Do."
Still though, the new protection isn’t expected to be retroactive meaning that there will be plenty of “Love Me Do” for years to come – or until we all get sick of it.
According to the guys over at Noise 11, the first label to release a rerecorded version of the song is Digital Remasterings who included the tune on a release of early Beatles recordings including the often released Hamburg Star Club live show.
Another is Pristine Classical, a label which usually specializes in remastered public domain classical pieces but who has broken that policy for "Love Me Do.”
And don’t forget that the song’s not as famous B-side, “P.S. I Love You,” is also free to be recorded, reimagined and re-released in any way them Europeans see fit.