Record Labels Sue the Nonprofit Internet Archive for Copyright Infringement

Record Labels Sue the Nonprofit Internet Archive for Copyright Infringement

The Internet Archive offers 2,479 records from before 1972 for free — despite all these records being available on multiple major streaming services

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and a number of other record labels have filed a lawsuit against the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library that offers free access to collections of digitized materials including recorded music.

Valued at $412 million, the suit claims that the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project — which exists to preserve and create access to music on 78rpm records — is akin to an “illegal record store”.

2,749 records, all of which date from before 1972, are implicated in the suit — and many are from iconic musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong.

The Internet Archive has already been sued in the past for copyright infringements relating to print books, which it illegally digitized and circulated.

“Defendants attempt to defend their wholesale theft of generations of music under the guise of ‘preservation and research,’ but this is a smokescreen: their activities far exceed those limited purposes,” the complaint reads. “Internet Archive unabashedly seeks to provide free and unlimited access to music for everyone, regardless of copyright.”

“In truth, Defendants’ malfeasance springs from their disregard for copyright law and the rights of artists and content owners,” it continues. “Internet Archive and the other Defendants have a long history of opposing, fighting, and ignoring copyright law, proclaiming that their zealotry serves the public good. In reality, Defendants are nothing more than mass infringers.”

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