Bob Dylan released a limited edition boxset of rarities in 2012 in order for the songs to remain protected by copyright law in Europe. As reported by NME, The 50th Anniversary Collection is made up of 86 rarities recorded by Dylan in 1962.
These 86 tunes were in danger of no longer being covered by copyright, meaning that no royalties would have to be paid to Dylan whenever the songs were sold in Europe. Unfortunately for Dylan, his 1962 self-titled debut album did fall out of copyright in Europe last year.
To avoid the same incident occurring twice, Sony distributed approximately 100 copies of The 50th Anniversary Collection, subtitle The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol 1, to stores in the UK, Germany, Sweden and France
“This isn’t a scheme to make money,” a Sony spokesperson told Rolling Stone. “The copyright law in Europe was recently extended from 50 to 70 years for everything recorded in 1963 and beyond. With everything before that, there’s a new ‘use it or lose it’ provision. It basically said, ‘If you haven’t used the recordings in the first 50 years, you aren’t going to get any more’.”
As noted by NME, it is likely that the boxset of rarities will eventually see a wider release.
“The whole point of copyrighting this stuff is that we intend to do something with it at some point in the future,” added the Sony source. “But it wasn’t the right time to do it, right after he released [latest album] Tempest. There are other things we want to do in 2013 though.”