A group of record labels, including Sony Music and Universal Music, are now suing the archiving service Internet Archive for copyright infringement.
The reason behind this is that the Internet Archive has ripped 78 RPM records, an older format used for records before the introduction of vinyl, in order to preserve them for posterity. This is part of what the Internet Archive calls “The Great 78 Project” and includes around 400,000 78 RPM records released between 1900 and 1960.
The songs can also be listened to and downloaded in various file formats via the project’s website, which has infuriated the record labels that own the rights to these recordings. Notable artists like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday are mentioned in the news agency Reuters’ report. In total, the record labels claim that approximately 2,750 recordings in The Great 78 Project violate their copyrights.
As a result, the record labels are seeking up to $412 million in damages from the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive states that they have only ripped the recordings for the purpose of historical preservation. On the other hand, the record labels argue that all the works mentioned in their lawsuit against the Internet Archive can be streamed from existing commercial services.