Record Companies Sue Internet Archive For Preserving Old 78 Rpm Recordings
Some of the world’s largest record labels, including Sony and Universal Music Group, filed a lawsuit against the Internet Archive and others for the Great 78 Project, a community effort for the preservation, research and discovery of 78 rpm records that are 70 to 120 years old.
The project has been in operation since 2006 to bring free public access to a largely forgotten but culturally important medium. Through the efforts of dedicated librarians, archivists and sound engineers, we have preserved hundreds of thousands of recordings that are stored on shellac resin, an obsolete and brittle medium. The resulting preserved recordings retain the scratch and pop sounds that are present in the analog artifacts; noise that modern remastering techniques remove.
“The labels’ lawsuit said the project includes thousands of their copyright-protected recordings,” reports Reuters, including Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven.”
“The lawsuit said the recordings are all available on authorized streaming services and ‘face no danger of being lost, forgotten, or destroyed.'”
The labels’ lawsuit filed in a federal court in Manhattan said the Archive’s “Great 78 Project” functions as an “illegal record store” for songs by musicians including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. They named 2,749 sound-recording copyrights that the Archive allegedly infringed. The labels said their damages in the case could be as high as $412 million.