Rare Lou Reed Demos – Blink, They’re Here, Blink, They’re Gone

RCA does the copyright extension trick

As Variety and other outlets report, during the holidays, a 17-track album of demos recorded by Lou Reed titled I’m So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos was briefly released by RCA/ Sony Music on iTunes in Europe. Two days later, the album was nowhere to be seen. This seems to be the so-called ‘copyright dump’ trick many record labels use to extend the company’s ownership of the recordings.

According to the report, I’m So Free includes rough versions of nearly every song from Reed’s self-titled 1972 debut solo album and his breakthrough follow-up, Transformer — several of which he originally wrote and recorded with the Velvet Underground — although two tracks, “Kill Your Sons” and “She’s My Best Friend,” were not officially released until his 1976 album Coney Island Baby. The recordings, which also include songs like “Perfect Day,” “I’m Sticking With You,” “Berlin,” “Ocean,” “Ride Into the Sun,” and others, appear to be acoustic demos that have been making the rounds for several years.

Variety adds that such blink-and-you-miss-it copyright-extension releases have become common as many songs from the rock era pass the 50th anniversary of their recording: While the laws are not completely clear, in the European Union, sound recordings are protected for 50 years after they are recorded, and can be extended to 70 years as long as they are “lawfully communicated to the public” — i.e. officially released in some form — within the first 50 years (even into the last hours of the 50th year).

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