This whole scenario could have been solved 20 years ago, if the Zappa family had thought to deposit the archive with an appropriate organisation – independent from the family – which included a monetary donation for the preservation work in return for the retention of copyright by the family estate, and an agreement for the release of material for publication only after suitable preservation and restoration work had been completed satisfactorily. Does the Library of Congress sign such deals?
I firmly believe that Frank Zappa’s work is of international importance, especially concerning his recordings with diverse musicians. I recall a session involving the combined talents of Irish folk group the Chieftains with a similar group from South Korea, for example, which resulted in astonishing music symbiosis. In that respect, Zappa’s archive belongs to the World, not just to warring family members and bootleggers. Unfortunately, this whole scenario is beginning to show itself with regard to the Prince archive...