In a move that is less than perfect for those wishing to obtain copyright expired works one of the big four cartel members has given in to common sense and allowed the US library of congress access to many early master recordings for digitisation.http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/01/library-of-congress-gets-first-big-gift-of-major-label-music.ars
Universal will donate more than 200,000 master recordings from the 1920s-1940s to the Library, which will make this rare music available to the public over the Web.
The master recordings currently reside on metal and lacquer discs, with some on mono tape, and they feature plenty of material that was never released from such artists as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong.
The master recordings continue to degrade, so the Library will embark on a large-scale digitization process at its Packard Campus in Virginia. This will result in very high-quality copies of works, some of which have never been digitized before, and the Library plans to put the archive online for free public streaming beginning this spring.
This is what should happen in the ideal world but I'm a bit upset about the streaming aspect of this as if the music is free and copyright expired why should we not have it available locally instead of having to rely on the internet each time we want to listen to it ? Also as many of you know streaming is often of poor quality in terms of bitrate etc and likely the recordings will sound canned like a radio does due to the reduced information, all in all less than ideal but a step towards restoring some of the tarnish recording companies have brought upon themselves by their wholesale theft of cultural works monetised by the magic of increasingly extended time frames of copyright protection the cartel of thieves have successfully lobbied for each review with increasingly dubious statistical material.