back to article Internet Archive sued by record labels as battle with book publishers intensifies

The Internet Archive was sued for copyright infringement by a coalition of music giants on Friday, just as it lost a similar copyright claim to a group of book goliaths. The latest lawsuit [PDF] against the non-profit organization was filed in a federal district court in New York City by UMG Recordings, Capitol Records, …

  1. Piro Silver badge

    Leave them alone, damn

    The internet archive is one of the greatest resources on the planet. It helps keep people honest by caching so much data.

    1. gkroog

      Re: Leave them alone, damn

      That's why they want to get rid of it. They don't like to be kept honest...

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Big Brother

        The first casualty in War is the Truth ke[eeps|pt] people honest by providing an indelibleunadulterated record of history.

        In future, if you want to hear an old song, or read an old book, or check the contents of an old website, you will have to ask The Ministry of Truth, aka Google / Microsoft, which will instantly provide you with a version that your memory cannot discern from the version you once heard, but which differs subtly from the original (for technical reasons, as much as political reasons, by way of prompt injection and training biases). How convenient for our lords and masters.

    2. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: Leave them alone, damn

      Lots of organizations do good things, even while they break the law. seriously screwed up with their "National Emergency Library". At the time of launch, everybody could see it was a clear copyright violation with no plausible legal basis. That stupid move ruined their formerly sterling reputation, and opened up the floodgates to lawsuits.

      I'll be the first to say that copyright terms are much too damn long if they're getting sued for digitizing scratchy old 78 records. The US should go back to it's original 14 years and one optional 14 year extension, and quit pretending there's any public benefit in preventing Charlie Chaplin movies from entering the public domain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leave them alone, damn

        .... everybody could see [the "National Emergency Library"] was a clear copyright violation with no plausible legal basis ... I'll be the first to say that copyright terms are much too damn long if they're getting sued for digitizing scratchy old 78 records. The US should go back to it's original 14 years and one optional 14 year extension ......

        Are you experiencing inner turmoil?

        1. rcxb Silver badge

          Re: Leave them alone, damn

          They certainly weren't only lending out old books.

          My opinions on copyright length don't make me blind to the law. I don't run a business where I go handing out DVDs of movies from the 80s, claim it's perfectly legal and was cleared by my lawyers, and expect no negative consequences from my actions.

        2. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

          Not a complicated concept

          We want it to be one way.

          But it's the other way.

      2. Fred Daggy Silver badge

        Re: Leave them alone, damn

        Agreed. And any work which is effectively abandoned, loses copyright immediately. If you're not selling it, or refusing to sell it - you lose the privileges assigned.

      3. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Leave them alone, damn

        Copyright terms can now be up to 70 years from the death of the author.

        Personally, I think that a blanket rule of 70 years after the date of publication was fairer and rather easier to work with; since many authors publish under a pseudonym, and so in some circumstances it might be difficult to know when they've actually died.

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

    THOSE are the music giants.

    The entities named are record labels which have been ripping off musicians since the year dot.

    I find it hilarious that they are the ones making accusations.

    1. simonlb

      Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

      Yes, the double standards shown here are laughable. However, under copyright law some of these recordings (or the vinyl or cylinder they were recorded from) will still be covered by copyright, which in the UK is 70 years from the date of the death of the last creator. The US copyright is different, but some of the infringement claims will probably still be valid.

      1. mark l 2 Silver badge

        Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

        70 years after death is just a ridiculous amount of time, and of course we have Disney and all the others who keep successfully lobbying to increase copyright duration to thank for that.

        Copyright expiry should be a fixed length say 50 years from the date it was created no matter whether the person is still alive or not.

        If a creator hasn't made profit after 50 years of their work existing they probably aren't going to, and i really don't see why generations of offspring should be benefiting from work done decades after the creator died.

        My father was a cabinet maker before he retired, so his job was making bespoke furniture, but im not expecting to be getting royalties when the owner of the cabinets he made get sold on, for the next 70 years. So why should the entertainment industry get such perks?

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          Most music creators prior to the internet stop making profits far shorter than that. The fact is most performers never owned their music. It was the record label or publishing company who owned the copyright.

          This started to change after several high profile law suits were won by artists like Frank Zappa (after some really disgusting things done by Warner Brothers), Prince, and Tom Petty.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

            The fact is most performers never owned their music

            In this country, Marillion got dropped by their music company (the deal came to an end and they were not trendy or edgy enough for the music company to renew). So they instead turned to fan-power - they created a fan-subscription service to provide the money to make their next few album.

            They were massively oversubscribed. The list of names in the included CD booklet is huge - with my name in there too :-)

            They did that for a few albums until they had enough of a fund to make sure that they didn't have to go cap in hand to any of the music companies. They do use one - but only as a distribution agreement where the mucis company gets a proportion of the cost of each sale but nothing else.

            And they did it long before that sort of thing became popular on t'internet.

            1. Long John Silver

              Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

              The example you offer nicely complements points I raised in my own post to this forum.

          2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

            Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

            "The fact is most performers never owned their music."

            True. But it's because they made a deal with a recording company to get paid _right_now_ for an estimate of the future value of their work. Sometimes even a payment in advance. Recording companies take a risk that new and unknown talent will produce a future income stream. They are in the business of assuming risk. Sometimes they lose, and the performer is relegated to the $1 bin of the record store. Sometimes they win and the artist cries "No fair!" when the studio makes out well.

            This is a good argument for getting a good agent before signing that first deal. And perhaps even some legislation prohibiting the locking in of performers to long term contracts. When, if they do well, could come back and negotiate better follow-on terms. But not to go back and tear up existing deals.

            1. Sanguma

              Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

              Read any biography of Beethoven, for example, and you'll find publishers wanting to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. It's endemic to the point of being pandemic.

        2. PRR Bronze badge

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          > ......not expecting to be getting royalties when ....the cabinets he made get sold on, for the next 70 years. So why should the entertainment industry get such perks?

          Because "COPY". There is a difference selling the original and selling a copy.

          Copying bespoke furniture is almost as hard as creating it. Planes, saws, woodchips.

          Copying books is different from writing books. If the setup costs can be amortized across a thousand copies (less today) then there could be money in it.

          Copying sound recordings has become very much cheaper than making them.

      2. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

        My question is, are they offering these recordings for digital sale? Vinyl? I would guess not. So there is no income being lost here.

        The artists (most being dead) nor their estates would make no money from such sales either.

        So this is just a cache grab by the publishers, who are already some of the slimiest people on the planet!

        1. abend0c4

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          At least in the EU (and the UK as the law hasn't changed), copyright in recordings that had not expired by 1963 was 50 years and afterwards was 70 years. A lot of still-popular recording from the 40s and 50s would still have been in copyright in 1963 and so would have had their term extended, but at the present moment we're looking mostly at recordings issued after 1953 that still have protection.

          There was also a "use it or lose it" clause: if the recordings weren't "available", then the copyright extension lapsed.

          Whereas some of these recordings will still be available (albeit in some cleaned-up and reprocessed version) and even lucrative, I can't see their sales being much impacted by recordings taken from actual used shellac disks - although the quality of these can be better than you might expect, bar the surface noise.

        2. Kimo

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          Many of the tracks listed in the complaint are available for streaming. These are not entirely obscure or endangered recordings.

          1. MrBanana

            Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

            You may want to check out something called Autotune. Streaming services are not always serving up original recordings. Ignoring the fidelity of the digital transfer of old, physical recordings, some streaming services have decided to "enhance" the sounds for those listeners they consider too enfeebled to appreciate an original recording. Add in a good dose of compression, and it is no wonder visitors to my vinyl listening lounge say "oh, it doesn't sound like that on Spotify".

        3. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          Well, this very publication did call them the Recording Industry ASS of America for some time...

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

        Copyright is complex. It depends what the item is. But 70 years is way too long for any copyright as far as I'm concerned. And FWIW, UK copyright used to max out at 50 years, less in some cases. But the whole of the EU (which the UK used to be in) was "upgraded" to 60 years to match Germany who had the longest copyright period in the EU, despite the average across the EU being lower, there was never any serious attempt to reduce Germany down to an EU average. This was than later increased thanks to lobbying to match the US.

        But, as mentioned, copyright is complex. The "authors death + 70 years" is exactly that. Author. It can be very different when the "author" is a corporate entity, or "performance", the medium etc.

        Personally, I think it ought to have at least an element of renewability. If a work hasn't been "published" for 20 pr 30 years to some reasonable standard, e.g. quantity and availability, then there ought to be exceptions for the likes of or just dump it in the Public Domain. No "publishing" a tiny run for sale in Uzbekistan to get around the rules and claim you are still monetising the item. There's huge amounts of copyrighted works that are not available to purchase at any price simply because publishers are sitting on them for no good reason.

        1. Long John Silver

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          "Copyright is complex."

          Indeed, copyright laws, local and international conventions, are immensely complicated. That raises the matter of why. In comparison, criminal law and much of civil law are relatively straightforward: even a lay person with a little time and effort can upon studying statute and annotated 'case-law' form a strong grip upon the purpose and meaning for himself of a particular body of law. It is usually the intent of legislators that ordinary people have awareness of their entitlements and responsibilities: ignorance of law does not constitute defence when law is breached.

          Admittedly, some law unrelated to copyright and patents is an utter mess. This is a consequence of many people attaining legislative positions without prior requirement for them to demonstrate a capacity for clear thinking.

          The fact of IP law being such a ramshackle structure reflects upon the core proposition being false. Ideas, their expression, derivation from them, and their application, cannot be shoehorned into the same category as physical property. The only conceivable 'right' associated with ideas is acknowledgement as the originator or as a developer therefrom. Attribution is the foundation for reputation. Reputation determines ease of raising funds or further projects. The only opening for criminal and civil law is prosecution of attempts to hijack another's reputation and restitution for losses incurred. The underlying sin is deliberate plagiarism.

          All propositions begat by a false proposition are themselves false. Complexity of IP law arises from uncertainties and contradictions inherent from the beginning. These have to be patched as one goes along. For example, theft of a car is almost open and shut; the only potentially contentious consideration is whether the alleged thief intended to permanently deprive the vehicle's owner; whereas, claims of copyright infringement through use of somebody else's melody (regardless of whether attribution was given) fall into muddy waters concerning entitlement to 'derive' and 'fair use'; each of those concepts is arbitrary, and therefore related law is woolly. Hours are spent in legal argument resembling debate about the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. PhilipN Silver badge

            Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

            There are no IP rights in an idea. It is the demonstrable representation of the idea - words, design, process, sound etc - which is protected.

          3. MrBanana

            Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

            A well reasoned argument, thank you. I'm not a Taylor Swift fan, but her rerecording of her early albums to regain control is a great "stuff you" finger to the record industry. I note that the owners of the first recordings hasn't seen fit to raise any objection. I wonder how many artists who have sold off their back catalogue (Dylan, Justin Bieber’, Dr. Dre, ...) will come to regret it when they have no control over their music, and hear it being used for a haemorrhoids commercial every 15 minutes.

          4. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

            > The fact of IP law

            There is no such law. IP: Itelectual Property, is a made up term designed to create confusion across many disparate and entirely differnet laws.

            They bare no relation to each other. Copyright is to Patents as a Car is to a Cloud. The only simularity is they are both laws, and in the case of my example, both exist on this planet. In all other regards they are dissimilar.

            The very same publishers that are killing the public domain and attacking the IA created the idea of IP, so that we would confuse everything. Dont use their language and correct anyone who does.

            Otherwise tell people they need to change the tires on their cloud for winter.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

              Copyright and patents have a lot more similarity than you claim. Both consist of a limited-time right, guaranteed by the government, to be the sole provider of something that's not physical, which you must prove* is original work, which can be claimed only by the creator or someone they have explicitly transferred ownership to, and after it expires, the thing it covers becomes available for anyone to use. Your comparison between a car and a cloud doesn't have anything close to that list of similarities.

              * They're not great at correctly determining whether it's original or not, but your patent can be invalidated for prior art, and your copyright can be invalidated for plagiarism.

        2. cosmodrome

          Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

          Copyright isn't "complex". It's complicated. A completeily artificial set of rules to implement something basically impossible: ownership over information. Those rules unlike reasonable law are numerous, inconsistent and permanently tweaked to serve their benefitors, adding complication, not complexity.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

      If Frank Sinatra is such a a music giant then why hasn't he released any new music recently? Huh?

      I'll tell you why, it's because of all the pirates stealing his work. It must be terribly difficult for him to make a living now.

    3. FuzzyTheBear

      Re: "artists such as Frank Sinatra .." etc

      Won't get into politics i assure you but in the USA at the moment good common sense is out the door.

      They do not want to build at the moment , they want to destroy and go back in time, even basic human rights are thrown under the bus.

      What happens with 78's ( which are worthless ) is simply just one niore cheap way to destroy an important work and site.

      Destroy , destroy .. that's all the goddamn record labels and lawyers are ever good for.

      Find me something good they done in the last .. 50 years .. just one ..

      I am waiting .. well ? .. i thought so ..

  3. spireite Silver badge


    .... by name, hatchet by nature

  4. Steve B

    Quite sad that the internet has been corrupted.

    When we started the web, it was easy to find information as we all shared.

    We also shared programming techniques and ideas, all to improve the world.

    Then along came the rest of the world and completely destroyed our ideals.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Quite sad that the internet has been corrupted.

      The natural state of human culture is to share. Who doesnt drill into their toddlers the idea of sharing toys or sweets?

      Along come a few so wish to hoard the riches of the many.

      And we keep letting them...

      Many of us even sympathise with them. I had fruitles discussions with collegues 20 years ago about the onset of DRM and they simply couldnt get why it wasnt a good thing that they were prevented from moving a track or selling something secondhand. They thought that they should be milked for money and shackled year after year.

      It was like they would teach their future kids to share their toys whilst fitting the shackles to them for the publishing companies.

      It was then I realised I'm rich having a public domain and free sharing of information. RMS was right, I was listening to everything he said. Aaron Schwartz and others saying similar things. I learned what kind of person I am in society and I live in a dystopian world, like a dystopian scifi come true.

  5. Long John Silver

    Stay out of (realisable) USA jurisdiction

    The USA is the global hotspot for 'intellectual property' (IP) litigation. Western Europe has a number of foci, but illicit football live-streaming dominates copyright protection activities.

    The introduction of digital 'content' over the past forty years into 'consumer' use, this coupled with the ubiquity of the Internet, has led to intensifying rearguard action by holders of supposed 'rights' desperate to keep alive a now clearly anachronistic use of the word 'property'; even upon introduction, copyright was an unsound concept and faced challenge in the British parliament; nowadays, it should be clear to everyone that digitally expressible materials cannot be kept corralled behind paywalls.

    The 'rentier' mode of business operated in most part by people who merely trade 'rights', people whose creations at best have to do with 'accountancy', is destined to collapse. Replacing it, is a mode centred upon genuinely (not manufactured) creative individuals and collaborators whereby their works generate voluntary patronage supporting further works. Digital output is literally valueless in monetary terms; skills to produce it are scarce and on the basis of reputation can compete in a market for patronage.

    So-called 'piracy' is irreducible (except perhaps when live-streaming culturally transient sporting activities). Alongside 'pirates' of dubious motivations sit bodies such as the Internet Archive, Sci-Hub, and the Z-Library, of noble intent. With the increasing frenzy of Luddite rentier activity in many Western nations, especially the USA, it is prudent for people operating repositories of 'content' to locate themselves and their Internet servers beyond the jurisdiction of the USA and its hegemonic partners. Also, the introduction of peer-to-peer darknets is proceeding apace: global repositories with resilience offered by distributed storage across a host of Internet connected devices each freely sharing a little of their processing power and storage capacity, protect against natural disasters as well as against globalist multinationals the intent of which is to keep culture locked down under their own control. Worse than attempts to monetise digital sequences (rather than raise patronage from admirers) is the stultifying effect of copyright (also patents) upon creation of 'derivative works'.

    States in the 'Global South', emerging as economic powers individually and collectively, can decide to drop a host of impositions and restrictions instituted during the days of Western empires and now promulgated via international conventions, related institutions, and so forth. The 'nuclear' economic option is for one nation, that is one out of reach of the US Marine Corps, to drop the idea of IP. Whatever, hit that would generate against its own collection of profitable IP would be overwhelmingly compensated by rent-free access for the state and its citizens to digitally expressed global culture. Removal of rentier tax against state and individual discretionary disposable incomes would release immense resource for societally beneficial activities which include patronage for creative individuals whose work is appreciated. The following renaissance of true creativity and invention would set the world well on the path of meeting challenges and opportunities posed by the 21st century, many of these being qualitatively different to what came before.

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Re: Stay out of (realisable) USA jurisdiction

      I respectfully disagree that copyright is fundamentally an unsound principle - for the same reasons that I believe patents (and similar protections) are also valuable to society.

      The funamental principle is sound - that somsone who puts their efforts into creating something should have some protection, for a limited time, to monetise that creation. Without that creation, we'd simply see few people creating anything of value, simply because they'd know that professional thieves would simply take it and the original creator would make little (if anything) for their efforts. You can argue that people were creating things before copyright - classics in the art and music spheres. But they were typically sponsored by well off patrons who would sponsor what they wanted to see/hear ... hmm, a bit like the film and music industry of the last couple of decades really (they'll sponsor works, in return for the rights and future incomes, and typically only for things they think will make money for them).

      But the modern version of copyright (as with patents) is far from what was originally intended. As others have said, life+70 years is ridiculous for ephemeral things like music that typically have a valuable shelf-life measured in a few years, couple fo decades at most.

      1. Long John Silver

        Re: Stay out of (realisable) USA jurisdiction

        Picking up your point about patronage, I suggest funding by that means no longer is the preserve of the state, of wealthy individuals, and of institutions. Just as the Internet has demonstrated ownership of ideas fallacious - in concept and in enforceability - so too has it provided easy means for seeking and providing patronage, one such being crowd funding; indeed, I was a minor contributor to the making of a documentary film.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Stay out of (realisable) USA jurisdiction

          It is possible, but that doesn't automatically mean it will work in all the cases we get now. A documentary can be rather cheap to make, or it can be very expensive. If your payments have to go into getting a camera and pointing it at a guy who is talking and editing in what's effectively a PowerPoint presentation with existing video clips, it won't take many patrons to get it recorded. If it involves taking several people to a different continent where they will be filming for weeks, it will take quite a few more. For things other than a documentary, the costs grow faster than the willingness of patrons to incur them.

          It is much easier for millions to pay a small amount when they want to consume the content than for a few hundred to pay really large chunks in the hope that it will be created. When those hundreds are doing so with the expectation that the millions will at least partially pay them back, they manage it. When those hundreds are doing it just for the love of the work, they probably don't see why they have to pay for the thing we will all enjoy watching without supporting.

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    "The real idea of this is preservation, research, and discovery,"

    None of which allow them to REDISTRIBUTE their captured material.

    Hell, they host entire MAME ROM sets which have seen all kinds of places taken down, entire BBC series, etc.

    It's fine to "archive", it's not fine under current law anywhere to then put all those archives online for absolutely everyone in the world to download without limit or permission.

    There's a big difference between being something like the BFI or the British Library, and just being a torrent dumping ground of anything people like.

    1. Fred Daggy Silver badge

      And term of life+ cannot achieve the aim of promoting arts and sciences

      Any term of copyright which is longer than the natural lifespan of a person cannot promote the arts and sciences. Suppose that a work is created when the author is in their late teens/early twenties. Only a limited number are produced. The author lives to about 100 years of age, the copyrighted work is nearly 80 years old already. Most owners of the work have passed on, many copies lost destroyed the work is forgotten about and STILL the work isn't in the public domain. No one can create a derivative work, nor be inspired by it and publish it. A tree from the fountain of creativity is nipped in the bud and cannot flourish.

      Some reasonable (countable on one's digits) number means that there is some chance the work can be distributed when it is still relevant, and the seed of the idea germinate and grow.

      1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: And term of life+ cannot achieve the aim of promoting arts and sciences


        Koowledge is lost, certainly when considering the sciences. If nobody publishes or uses the work after the authors death then you may have up to 80 years before anyone can see it, by which time it is a coin toss that someone will come across it, in a readable form.

        Archives are highly important and the Internet Archive relies on submissions from the general public and funding from the general public and it's hard do do that if the general public can not see what you have and have little chance to use it.

        The IA have barely scratched the surface, scanning books for example (I will conceded that it should be out of print books, anything currently in priont is probably safe for the time being) is very important, as well as keeping the printed copies in circulation in a second hand market as well as in libraries such as the British Library, but there is way too much out there never digitised or put online. People like me collect and hoard such stuff and thats great, but if I dont provide access to it...

        Copyright was bolstered into the terrible thing it is today because of a greedy company extending it beyond anything sane, by not having a "if you dont publish it you lose it clause", and by a few rich Authors who actually do make money off their works. The UK copyright system was due for a MASSIVE overhaul, we would have gotten a whole new debate on it which would include the idea that we have computers and networks now so NEED to be able to share more freely amongst ourselves. But a few famous Authors, like Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) reacted to the chance of fairer copyright by campaining against it in favor of keeping stuff out of the publics hand:

        All because they wanted to earn royalties after they are long dead. I say that you should have copyright expire after 50 years, or shorter, with one extension granted if you can prove that you are publishing a new edition in the country that the copyright applies.

  7. ecofeco Silver badge

    As the Archive is not profiting from their cache, what leg have the publishers ever had to stand on?

    The U.S. Constitution specifically states "limited time". 50+ years is not and never will be, limited. This lifetime+ copyright bollocks needs to end.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      I don't know where you got either of your ideas from, but both of them are pretty clearly wrong. For example, that if you don't make a profit, you don't have a leg to stand on. That's not a thing. If you do what the law says you shouldn't, then it's illegal no matter whether you benefit. If I steal something from you and am unable to sell it, I am not innocent. If I violate copyright and don't profit, I'm also not innocent.

      Also, you appear to have trouble with literal interpretation of words:

      "The U.S. Constitution specifically states "limited time". 50+ years is not and never will be, limited."

      Yes, that is limited, since there is a finite amount of time after which it ends. It would also be limited if they said "Copyright to consist of a time period lasting a hundred million years", because it has a definite ending point. I have opinions on how long that limit should be, on which we're more likely to agree, but arguing that it's not limited based on the clear limit is a pretty bad argument.

      1. Sanguma

        and the booby prize is ...

        an evening with Russ Meyer ... not quite. (Thank $DEITY) The US Constitution gives an admirably succinct reason for protecting creative output, and I quote:

        To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

        Or in other words, to provide an incentive for authors and inventors to keep working by ensuring that they get paid for keeping on writing and inventing. I would dearly love to see the cheques paid to Walter Elias Disney for his posthumous output; who wouldn't? By extending the copyright to life plus 90 years, the Disney Corp has solemnly informed us that they are continuing to employ Walter Elias Disney; is it possible that they have not in fact been paying him? If so, the founder of Disney Corp et al., is posthumously enslaved. Is it possible that Walter Elias Disney is having his work continuously rejected? In which case, since no discernable NDA or non-compete agreement was ever signed, why has not the Disney Corp permitted him to seek work elsewhere?

        And if Disney Corp has neither been paying Walter Elias Disney nor employing him, then they have been defrauding him of the posthumous payments he is due for the use of his creative works. And if Disney Corp has in fact employed Walter Elias Disney posthumously without paying him, it has violated any number of anti-slavery laws by continuing to employ him posthumously without payment.

        "limited times" is just the tip of the iceberg.

        1. MrBanana

          Re: and the booby prize is ...

          Posthumously? Every week they're adding Post-It notes recording his copyright payments to the outside of the cryogenic chamber holding his head.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: and the booby prize is ...

          I don't agree with the lengthened copyright terms that you're complaining about. However, that doesn't make them illegal. You're simply arguing that, because he's dead, it doesn't motivate him to create any more art? That's true, but it could have motivated him to create more art when he was alive on the basis that the profits from it can also go to his children, so if he were to produce some art right before dying, it wouldn't immediately become public domain. Some artists would care about that, and some would not. I am not convinced that we have to care about that. However, just because I don't agree with the law doesn't mean that I can use tortured arguments to try to prove that it's not the law. That's what the writers of the laws, especially the Disney corporation, intended it to say. If we don't like it, we have to change it, not argue that it never meant that or that a limit is not a limit.

          1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            Re: and the booby prize is ...

            > However, that doesn't make them illegal.

            True but it does make them imoral, unjust. Such laws may as well be treated as if if they are illegal so that a precedent can be set against them.

            Anglo Saxon common law allows this, laws are created by the people and the courts and juries help to maintain that and deal out justice. Part of that maintenance is setting a precendet, where old or outdated laws or immoral laws are essentially mothballed even though they strictly are still in force. The UK has loads of such laws, that although we all break many of them every day, they will never be enforced. Some laws can also be repealed in this system, such as the laws against homosexuality in the UK.

            As an example, nobody, no individual, in the UK who made a copy of a cassette tape or CD for a mate will ever find themselves hauled into court and convicted of taht crime. The court would simply not bother and crucially the police wont bother. This created a precedent that although you shouldt do it, the spirit of the law said that it didnt matter if you did as long as you were not clearly abusing it, such as making hundreds of copies and selling them in a car park.

            But if a little 7 year old girl shares a single mp3, as happened in the US, well they come down on her and her grandmother like a ton of bricks and demand MILLIONS in damages. You really are on their side?

            They said "home taping is killing music": We continued to tape as and when we liked, they couldnt touch us but in some places they could tax us.

            They tried to kill the VCR: We won there too.

            They make colour laser printers embed codes into the print so they can prove you copied something.

            They will never change, they dont get it and they should reform or go on there merry way and die as a business.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        LOL wut?



        adjective: limited

        restricted in size, amount, or extent; few, small, or short.

        Please do let Oxford know they are doing it wrong.

        Trouble with words, indeed.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Yes, and in this case, the definition that is used is "restricted in size, amount, or extent". There is a restriction. It could be higher, but it isn't. Thus, there exists a limit to it somewhere. The other option is "unlimited", which could also be written into the law, but is not. Thus, since it is not unlimited, it is limited. You know this already, so I'm not sure why we're having this argument. You already understand that "limited" does not necessarily mean "with a limit that you agree with".

          Here's a parallel. The EXFAT system has a limit on file sizes. You may not store a file greater than 128 PB on it without splitting it into pieces. This is not a limit I'm going to hit any time soon, because creating a 128 PB volume is infeasible. However, that's still a limit and described as such. When FAT32 was new, the 4 GB file size limit seemed similarly difficult to hit, but that is a limit that's much easier to hit these days. Whether the limit is actually causing problems, it is still a limit.

      3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        > Yes, that is limited

        It's not limited when you can just extend it by 20 years every 20 years.

        Have you not been following the forever copyright we are no in?

        What about the stuff that enters the public domain, only to be re-copyrighted a couple of years later and extracted from the public domain?

        Everything published should be freely shared after a limted time that expires within the lifetimes of the people alive when it was published. Well the majority of them. Thus copyright should be 10 years from the DATE of publication, with a possible extension granted by a court for a further 10 years if a business case can be presented showing the work is still in heavy use. After that it enters the public domain.

        Many authors will probably think even 10 years is too long. I know of one that wanted nothing more than 5 years. Why? Because it ISNT THE AUTHORS WHO OWN THE COPYRIGHT. Turns out that the publishers actually have the copyright, not the author, thus the author loses all control and that particular author was struggling in court to try and get his work back after it was no longer profitable because he wanted to let everyone share it freely as a self promotion attempt!

        Some musicians in a similar position managed to create an album totally independantly from the record label who, again, holds the copyrights. They self promoted it and offered it to the public, their fans, relying on word of mouth. You could download it for FREE or at a price you think is fair. They found they were swimming in profit, money that they had NEVER seen when signed with a label. Most payed the suggested price some more and that was with plenty of free downloads having happened.

        There are other record labels like Magnatune who also give 50% of all proceeds to the artists while allowing the public to choose the amount they want to pay. There is zero DRM and you are free to re-encode, burn CD's and they wont care if you let your mates listen, in fact they say that you can give the donload link to a mate or two! If you wish to use the work in your youtube videos etc you merely just buy a commercial use license which grants you all rights to use the works in your videos, the cost of the license is certgainly not cheap and it certainly ait expensive either! It also lasts FOREVER.

        But our copyright system is manipulated and controlled by a bunch of plutocrats addicted to profit over everything, they care nothing about the rights of the little people, which copyright was supposed to protect by constantly feeding the public domain. They even train us as kids to "not be a pirate" etc, basically undiong the natural insticnt to be a nice person who shares with others, undoing the training we all got to be just like that when we were 2 years old and our parents told us we must learn to share. The public domain is FOR US. The commons is FOR US. Copyright protects the health of the commons but the holders have twisted the whole thing against us so that WE OURSELVES even think that it is a terrible shame something enters the public domain.

        Authors etc are supposed to work to better the commons, copyright grants a limited monopoly on the work entering the commons. AUthors are supposed to keep producing new works, FOR US and the commons because they can not sit in a chair and ride the profits from merely a handful of works. While the rest of society must work till retirement, it's only fair authors and artists should do so as well, but they want to write a few books, and then sit in a chair getting fat while we labour constantly. Their descendants can sit in a chair and never get a job (ever seen About a Boy, the main character never worked in his life). It is certainly nice to think your kids can enjoy some of the profits of your work after you die suddenly, but I think that should just give them a boost, like savings for college etc, not an income for life, they should learn to work themselves!

        So life + 50/70/90 years depending on country is an abomination. An insult against decency and the public good. The public domain is aneamic and practically dead and we have been trained to not step in with the defib machine. We are prevented from sharing using todays technology using DRM, which I bet will not self destruct itself upon the copyright of the "protected" work expiring, am I right? We are taught first to share, then we are taught that sharing is piracy, ooh aaah shiver me timbers. They confuse different laws into one simple "law" so that nob ody can talk about it properly, they call it IP law. A brilliant weapon, now it's possible to conflate copyright and patents and trademarks in the same sentence!

        If we cant regain control and reform copyright we may as well break it.

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    Not surprised

    It's not at all surprising the music industry would come after them, especially for "high profile" artists like Sinatra. If they'd limited it to obscure artists no-one currently alive had ever heard of then it would probably have been fine but this was just asking for trouble. I don't have high hopes for them winning this case, similarly I don't have high hopes of them coming off lightly in the other case (about book lending). It would be a massive blow if this stupidity ends up taking the project down.

  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    There’s nowt as strange as folk

    Greedy folk, well, they take the cake.

    Corporate avarice knows no bounds.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Copyright holders are parasite

    Copyrights shouldn't last longer than 20 years and shouldn't be transmissible. Only the artists who made the piece of art should be recognized as copyright holders.

    That will never happen. Music and movies industries are way too close to the lawmakers for the latter to go against the first.

  11. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    What the f did I just read?

    "Defendants attempt to defend their wholesale theft of generations of music under the guise of 'preservation and research,' but this is a smokescreen: their activities far exceed those limited purposes," the complaint contends. "Internet Archive unabashedly seeks to provide free and unlimited access to music for everyone, regardless of copyright."

    Did I read that correctly?

    My god they dont even try to hide their greed and corruption. These are 78's, many are in the public domain and those that are not probabbly should be. These megacorps try to say that they own the stuff forever and dont even hide it?

    Are they re-releasing all this music then? On 78's? On CD? How many teens are likley to stream much of that stuff?

    They will never stop, they are all for perpetual copyright and the killing of the Public Domain. They train us since childhood to be good little consumers, twisting the reality of the original intent that was copyright; that of providing new works into PUBLIC ownership in exchange for a limited monopoly for a time.

    I hope the IA wind this one, we need to start re-defining the whole industry. These copyright dinosaurs should adapt to our new system, which we will create, or retire on their already fatly lined pockets. The artitst barely get a penny while the publishers own the work, many artists want copyright reform, some want it tgo be less than 10 years since publication and nothing regarding since their death.

    Resist, download the lot from the IA and copy it far and wide. Lets see how they deal with that.

    Yes, turns out RMS was right!

    More people should read "Snow Crash".

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