Tag Archives: Internet Archive

Internet Archive Files Appeal In Copyright Infringement Case

As expected, the Internet Archive this week has submitted its appeal in Hatchette v. Internet Archive, the closely-watched copyright case involving the scanning and digital lending of library books, Publishers Weekly reported.

In a brief notice filed with the court, IA lawyers are seeking review by the Second Circuit court of appeals in New York of the “August 11, 2023 Judgement and Permanent Injunction; the March 24, 2023 Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgement and Denying Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgement; and from any and all orders, rulings, findings and/or conclusions adverse to Defendant Internet Archive.”

According to Publishers Weekly, the notice of appeal comes right at the 30-day deadline – a month to the day after judge John G. Koeltl approved and entered a negotiated consent judgement in the case which declared the IA’s scanning and lending program to be copyright infringement, as well as a permanent injunction that, among its provisions, bars the IA from lending unauthorized scans of the plaintiffs’ in-copyright, commercially available books that are available in digital editions.

The copyright infringement lawsuit was first filed on June 1, 2020, in the Southern District of New York by Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley, and organized by the Association of American Publishers.

The Internet Archive posted on its blog: “Internet Archive Files Appeal in Publishers’ Lawsuit Against Libraries”. From the blog (posted on September 11, 2023):

“Today, the Internet Archive has submitted its appeal in Hatchette v. Internet Archive. As we stated when the decision was handed down in March, we believe the lower court made errors in facts and law, so we are fighting on in the face of great challenges. We know this won’t be easy, but it’s a necessary fight if we want library collections to survive the digital age.”

Statement from Brewster Kahle, Founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive:

“Libraries are under attack like never before. The core values and library functions of preservation and access, equal opportunity, and universal education are being threatened by book bans, budget cuts, onerous licensing schemes, and now by this harmful lawsuit. We are counting on the appellate judges to support libraries and our longstanding widespread library practices in the digital age. Now is the time to stand up for libraries.”

The Verge reported that the appeal from the IA follows a settlement that saw the Archive limit access to some of its scanned books as well as a second suit filed by music publishers over the Archive’s digitization of vintage records.

According to The Verge, the March ruling found that the internet Archive’s scanning and lending of books didn’t fall under the protections of fair use law, and an August settlement required it to remove public access to commercially available books that remained under copyright.

In addition to affecting the Archive, the ruling cast doubt on a legal theory called “controlled digital lending” that would allow other libraries to offer access to digitized books they physically own – rather than relying on frequently expensive and limited lending systems like OverDrive.

In my opinion, it sounds like the publishers are out to get the Internet Archive. This makes me sad. There are currently plenty of people who suddenly favor book bans – even from physical libraries. I don’t like the direction this is going in.

Music Labels Sue Internet Archive Over Digitized Record Collection

Rolling Stone reported that Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Capitol, and other record labels filed a copyright lawsuit on Friday against the Internet Archive, founder Brewster Kahle, and others over the organization’s “Great 78 Project,” accusing them of behaving as an “illegal record store.”

According to Rolling Stone, the suit lists 2,749 pre-1972 musical works available via Internet Archive by late artists, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck Berry, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby, among others.

The nonprofit Internet Archive began in 1996 and claims its mission is to “provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.” It purports to be a digital library that provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public, Rolling Stone reported. Its “Great 78 Project” follows suit; the community project dedicates itself to “the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records”.

The Plaintiffs – UGM Recordings, Capitol Records, Concord Bicycle Assets, CMGI Recorded Music Assets, Sony Music, and Arista Music – who own in full or in part the copyrights to some of the music in the collection claim the works were illegally distributed to to those visiting Internet Archive “millions of times,” Rolling Stone reported.

The suit seeks statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each protected sound recording infringement, which could exceed more than $412 million, along with attorneys’ fees as well as injunctive and further relief determined by the court.

The Great 78 Project is a community project for the preservation, research and discovery of 78rpm records. From about 1898 to the 1950s, an estimated 3 million sides (~3 minute recordings) have been made on 78rpm discs. While the commercial viable recordings will have been restored or remastered into LP’s or CD, there is still research value in the artifacts and usage evidence in the often rare 78rpm discs and recordings.

Already, over 20 collections have been selected by the Internet Archive for physical and digital preservation and access. Started by many volunteer collectors, these new collections have been selected, digitized and preserved by the Internet Archive, George Blood LP, and the Archive of Contemporary Music.

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and other record labels on Friday sued the nonprofit Internet Archive for copyright infringement over its streaming collection of digitized music from vintage records, Reuters reported.

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.

Representatives for the Internet Archive did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint. The San Francisco-based 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.”

According to Reuters, The Internet Archive is already facing another federal lawsuit in Manhattan from leading publishers who said its digital-book lending program launched in the pandemic violates their copyrights. A judge ruled for the publishers in March, in a decision that the Archive plans to appeal.

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

Personally, I’m not convinced that having the music on “authorized streaming services” is a valid response. There have been plenty of times when content has been removed from “authorized streaming services”, including podcasts and music, without warning.