I have no intentions of respecting copyright on something over 50 years old
Forgive my suspicious nature, but I have this feeling that you have no intentions of respecting any copyright whatsoever. This smacks of post hoc rationalisation.
The big publishers were in a nasty spot, though. Their business was being poached by smaller, regional presses. For years, they used support of state censorship to give themselves a monopoly and keep competition down. Abusive monopoly. This I will not deny.
Copyright as we know it only arrived when censorship ended. This I will also not deny.
But this does not mean that copyright is censorship, or that it is somehow evil or anti-competitive. Copyright protected them not merely from competition, but specifically from unfair competition -- someone taking something that the publisher had paid money for and reproducing it for free. It allowed investment in literature.
And more to the point, the material would not have fallen into the public domain anyway -- the summary is wrong, following as it does the lead paragraph of the CNN article, which is wrong. If you look halfway down the article it says:
The British government, following the change in European copyright law, implemented a law last month providing "that if a record label is not commercially releasing a track that is over 50 years old, then the performers can request that the rights in the performance revert to them -- a 'use it or lose it' clause," the government's website said.
The public domain is not affected by this law in the slightest: it's between the Beatles and Apple Corp. Apple doesn't want the McCartney and the other 3's families getting hold of the material and then selling it themselves for a higher percentage, so they've rushed this out to hold onto their cut.
Except that the summary is wrong. It is not about the public domain, because according to TFA, the copyright in the unreleased recordings reverts to the artists, it does not expire. The point is to protect the artist from abusive labels. If the label doesn't make the material available, it starves the artist of their earnings. If the label isn't making money for the artist, the artist should have the right to make money elsewhere. There have been cases where artists have recorded something and then the label has refused to release it because they don't want competition for another act.
50 years is too long, though, as the artist will have well and truly lost out. And "alternative takes" present a troubling conundrum... the record label releases the best, but has often incidentally made several versions. Do they have to release all of them now, just to prevent reversion of copyright?
Oh noes... they're protecting their material. They're stealing from the public...
...actually, no. They're working in compliance with a law that has been enacted to act against abuse of copyright terms. It's a law that says "release the material or release the copyright". This is one of the arguments that comes up from people on your side of the fence all the time: "they're not selling it, so it's of no value, so it should be free." Well, they've said "it is of value, so we are selling it, so it shouldn't be free."
It looks to me like the law is functioning as intended and achieving the intended goal.
but still, there's no good reason why the song shouldn't be public domain.
Then why not renounce copyright and release it to the public domain? You have that right.
Fewer. Don't make fun of Microsoft until your grammar improves.
Knowst thou not that verily doth language change?
"When conservatives tell me it's "politically correct nonsense", that to me is a denial of my identity."
If you choose to tie up your identity in politically correct nonsense, sorry, you're bringing it on yourself.
If you choose not to read what I've written, that's your problem... don't try to make it mine.