The Council on Library and Information Resources has provided several very interesting reports regarding copyright issues. Follow the link and you'll find the full text of the report named below online. On the same page are listed more reports of considerable interest.
Copyright Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Pre-1972 Commercial Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives
"Since the beginning of commercial sound recording in the 1890s, Americans have been enthusiastic creators and prolific consumers of recordings. Almost every form of sound has been captured—from musical performances and whale songs to political addresses and oral histories. Entrepreneurs of the late nineteenth century created a consumer market for recordings, and the commercial sector has played a significant role in the growth of the recording industry and the innovation of recording technologies. Despite the popularity of sound, however, federal copyright was not extended to sound recordings until 1972. State laws protect all recordings produced before that date.
It is those state laws that libraries and archives must follow when making decisions about copying their fragile historical recordings in order to preserve them. Sophisticated tools for rerecording offer a means to copy fragile wax cylinders or lacquer discs once and forever. As a result, many libraries today can retire original copies from use and, at the same time, broaden access to these valued materials through the use of digital surrogates. But do these laws allow them to do that?"