Evidence uncovered in this analysis suggests that a significant portion of historic recordings is not easily accessible to scholars, students, and the general public for noncommercial purposes. There are many reasons for this, but the primary one appears to be a convergence of two factors. The first is that the physical barriers created by recording technologies change often and have rendered most such recordings accessible only through obsolescent technologies usually found only in special institutions. Second, copyright law allows only rights holders to make these recordings accessible in current technologies, yet the rights holders appear to have few real-world commercial incentives to reissue many of their most significant recordings. The law has severely reduced the possibility of such recordings entering into the public domain, at least until 2067.Link (Thanks, Joel!)
While there is no reason to assume that the law intended to create or sustain such an imbalance between the private and public domains, the evidence suggests that it has, in fact, created such an imbalance. This study indicates that there is an active and hardy network of foreign and small domestic companies, associations, and individuals willing to make historic recordings available; indeed, some do this in spite of laws that force them underground or overseas.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.