Features Thomas Edison's Original Recordings

Recordings more than 100 years old can now be heard on the Internet, thanks to a new program established by San Diego-based startup Among the sonic treasures is Thomas Edison narrating a "phonographic trip around the world" recorded in 1888. The site offers copies of Edison cylinder recordings and early 78 rpm discs, all available for free.

Music historian Michael Loughlin worked closely with the Edison National Historic Site to produce the recordings in MP3 format. "It is my goal to make the premier place on the net to access historic recordings," Loughlin said. "With no real computer experience, I was amazed at how quickly allowed me to have a global Internet presence. There are millions of recordings made from 1887 to 1926 that the world should be able to listen to."

There are no copyright issues to contend with because the antique recordings are all in the public domain. US copyright law now protects intellectual property for a maximum of 75 years. MP3 has just concluded settlements with the music industry, which successfully sued over copyright infringements.

"It's a great testament to the power of the Internet that users around the world can now download these truly amazing historical recordings for free," said Michael Robertson, chairman and chief executive officer of "Through these recordings, anyone with an Internet connection is able to witness firsthand the beginnings of recorded music." The site claims to have archived more than 109,000 artists performing 698,000 songs and audio files.