Record labels file copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive; Trista Snyder, business and corporate transactions attorney at Rose Law Group, comments

By Althea Legaspi | Yahoo News

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Capitol, and other record labels filed a copyright lawsuit on Friday against Internet Archive, founder Brewster Kahle, and others over the organization’s “Great 78 Project,” accusing them of behaving as an “illegal record store.” The suit lists 2,749 pre-1972 musical works available via Internet Archive by late artists, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck Berry, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby, among others.

The suit, which was filed in federal court and reviewed by Rolling Stone, claims the Internet Archive’s “Great 78 Project” — launched by Internet Archive as a community project for “the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records,” according to its blog — has violated copyright laws. By “transferring copies of those files to members of the public, Internet Archive has reproduced and distributed without authorization Plaintiffs’ protected sound recordings,” the suit alleges.


“A quick look at copyright timelines for works created between 1964-1977 reminds us that works are protected for up to 95 years. Because of the ever-changing copyright laws and retroactive application, it can be difficult to determine what’s subject to copyright. Nonetheless, these works at issue are likely still under copyright protection and the court will have to grapple with whether defendant’s historical archive justification constitutes fair use in these circumstances.”

Trista Snyder, business and corporate transactions attorney at Rose Law Group

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August 2023