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Music labels sue Internet Archive over digitized record collection

By Blake Brittain

(Reuters) – Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and other record labels on Friday sued the non-profit Internet Archive for copyright infringement for streaming digitized music from old records.

The labels’ lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan federal court, said the Archives’ “Great 78 Project” functions as an “illegal record store” for songs by musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday.

They named 2,749 copyrights on sound recordings that the Archive allegedly infringed. The labels said their damages in the case could reach $412 million.

Representatives for the Internet Archive did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint.

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive digitally archives websites, books, audio recordings and other materials. It compares itself to a library and says its mission is to “provide universal access to all knowledge”.

The Internet Archive is already facing another federal lawsuit in Manhattan from leading book publishers who said the digital book lending program launched during the pandemic violated their copyrights. A judge ruled for the publishers in March, in a decision that the Archives intend to appeal.

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The Great 78 Project encourages donations of 78rpm records – the dominant record format from the early 1900s to the 1950s – for the group to digitize to “ensure the survival of this cultural material for future generations to study and benefit from.” to enjoy.” According to the website, the collection contains more than 400,000 recordings.

According to the labels’ lawsuit, the project includes thousands of their copyrighted recordings, including Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” and Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That”). “). Swing set)”.

The lawsuit said the recordings are all available on authorized streaming services and are “in no danger of being lost, forgotten or destroyed”.

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; editing by David Bario and Diane Craft)

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