Excerpted from the press release:
Sound recordings were not protected by federal copyright law until 1972. A Library of Congress report indicates that the miscellany of state laws protecting pre-1972 sound recordings will extend copyright protection until 2067, creating a situation where some recordings dating to the 19th century are not available in public domain.
The Library announced today the completion of a commissioned report that examines copyright issues associated with unpublished sound recordings. This new report from the Library of Congress and the Council on Library and Information Resources addresses the question of what libraries and archives are legally empowered to do, under current laws, to preserve and make accessible for research their holdings of unpublished sound recordings made before 1972.
The report, "Copyright and Related Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives’ is one of a series of studies undertaken by the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), under the auspices of the Library of Congress. It was written by June Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia University. The report is available free of charge at www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub144abst.html.