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Sound recordings: The sound of silence | The Economist
THE sound of Thomas Edison's first recorded words in 1877 are lost, but he
said they were <http://www.archive.org/details/EDIS-SCD-02>, "Mary had a
little lamb". Had the cylinder containing that utterance survived, it would
remain firmly under copyright protection in America at least until 2067. A
quirk of the federal copyright law with regard to recordings means that
nearly all music, spoken word, and other aural treats produced before the
early 1970s are currently protected until the second half of the 21st
century. Sonically speaking, the public domain is a wasteland.


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Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2011/06/sound-recordings
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