The Internet is where we can find what we are searching for: from films to ebooks and, yes, even music. However, music labels such as Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment are suing internet archives for apparent copyright infringement on a collection of music from vintage records.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan, and according to this appeal, the “Great 78 Project” (a.k.a. the Archive) works as an illegal record store releasing songs by musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Miley Davis, and Billie Holiday, among others.

Part of their charges detail how the Internet Archive has allegedly infringed 2,747 sound-recording copyrights. According to the music labels, this case could cause the Archive as much as USD 412 million.


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Meanwhile, the San Francisco-based Internet Archive is a digital library providing users with various materials, not just focusing on music alone. Its mission is clear, to “provide universal access to all knowledge.”

Similarly, the Archive is already facing another lawsuit, from leading book publishers claiming that the online book-lending program started during the pandemic goes against their copyright.

The Great 78 Project encourages donations of 78-rpm records (the most common choice of format since the early 1900s) in hopes that the Archive can continue to preserve these cultural materials for the coming generations to learn and enjoy.

At current, the said Archive has a collection of more than 400,000 recordings. The lawsuit continues to defend that their music is available across various streaming devices that are authorized, so there is no danger of the materials to be lost, forgotten, or destroyed.

What do you think about this case? Do you think the music labels have a point in their defense?

Via: Reuters

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