Nonprofit Internet Archive Faces Copyright Infringement Lawsuit from Music Labels

**Major Music Companies Sue Internet Archive for Copyright Infringement**

**Sony Music Entertainment and Others Accuse Internet Archive of “Wholesale Theft”**

Sony Music Entertainment and five other major music companies have filed a lawsuit against the non-profit Internet Archive, alleging that the organization’s posting of thousands of old songs and recordings online constitutes “wholesale theft” of copyrighted music. The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, claims that the Internet Archive’s actions amount to blatant infringement and include works by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, such as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Thelonious Monk.

**Copyright Infringement and Damages**

The record companies have listed 2,749 recordings in the lawsuit, including Bing Crosby’s rendition of “White Christmas.” However, they emphasize that this list only scratches the surface of the unauthorized content posted by the Internet Archive. The companies are seeking a court order to have all copyrighted material removed from the archive’s platform and damages of up to $150,000 per infringed work. Should the court rule in favor of the listed recordings, the damages could amount to a staggering $372 million.

**The Internet Archive’s Role and Allegations**

The Internet Archive serves as a vast digital repository of text, video, and music accessible online. Through its Great 78 Project website, the organization accepts and posts digitized copies of records in the antiquated 78 LP format from users. It currently boasts over 400,000 recordings and claims that its mission is to preserve, research, and discover 78rpm records.

However, the record companies argue that the Internet Archive’s claims of altruism and preservation are a mere smokescreen to hide their theft. They assert that authorized streaming or downloading services already make these recordings available, thereby eliminating any risk of them being lost, forgotten, or destroyed.

**The Music Modernization Act and the Lawsuit**

To protect older music, Congress passed the Music Modernization Act in 2018, extending the copyright for pre-1972 music until 2067. Sony, along with UMG Recordings Inc., Capitol Records LLC, Concord Bicycle Assets LLC, CMGI Recorded Music Assets LLC, and Arista Music, join forces in this lawsuit against the Internet Archive.

**No Comment from the Internet Archive**

As of now, the Internet Archive has not responded to requests for comment regarding the lawsuit. It remains to be seen how the organization will address the allegations of copyright infringement.

**In Conclusion**

The lawsuit filed by Sony Music Entertainment and other major music companies against the Internet Archive highlights the ongoing battle against copyright infringement in the digital age. With allegations of “wholesale theft” and demands for substantial damages, the outcome of this case could have significant implications for how copyrighted music is shared and protected online.

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