Copyright Infringement

Internet Archive Must Face Copyright Infringement Claims

A federal judge in California has dealt a blow to the Internet Archive. They’ve denied its request to dismiss a portion of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by major record labels, including Sony Music and Universal Music Group. The case revolves around the Archive’s “Great 78 Project,” which involves digitizing and streaming vintage vinyl records.

Copyright Claims Are Not Time-Barred

In her ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney rejected the Internet Archive’s argument that the claims from the record labels were time-barred. However, the nonprofit organization will have an opportunity to raise its defense again at a later stage in the legal proceedings.

Internet Archive Faces Multiple Lawsuits

The “Great 78 Project” encourages the public to donate fragile 78-rpm records, which the Archive then digitizes. Its stated goal is to preserve these cultural materials for future generations to study and enjoy. However, the record labels allege that the project functions as an “illegal record store,” offering songs by iconic artists like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra without proper authorization.

More Than 4,000 Cases of Copyright Infringement

In an amended complaint filed in March, the labels named more than 4,000 sound-recording copyrights that the Internet Archive allegedly infringed upon. The Archive had sought to dismiss a portion of the case. They argued that a significant number of the allegations were outside of the three-year statute of limitations based on a July 2020 cease-and-desist letter.

The Copyright Battle Continues

Judge Chesney ruled that the time bar did not apply because the letter did not identify any specific sound recordings at issue in the case. The legal battle between the Internet Archive and the record labels is expected to continue, with both sides likely to present their arguments in the coming months.

Reuters – Blake Brittain – May 16, 2024

Scroll to Top