Rights holders circling in the water to attack Grooveshark

Rights holders circling in the water to attack Grooveshark

The ongoing saga of Grooveshark continues…

After an executive at Grooveshark copied Digital Music News (DMN) writer Paul Resnikoff in his response to a thread of messages to and from members of King Crimson in which they accuse the aggregator of not working to remove their content, as they are mandated to do under their DMCA protection, Resnikoff published the conversation on DMN. Comments began to show up right away, and included a “visitor” that claimed to work for Grooveshark. In his comment, he explained how staff members are required to add, “a predetermined ammount [sic] of weekly uploads to the system” and that they even, “get a small extra bonus if [they] manage to go above that.” The commenter closes his screed with a foreboding note to King Crimson: “there is no way in hell you can get your stuff down.”

As part of a previous lawsuit that Universal Music Group (UMG) had filed in New York state court against Grooveshark, emails were obtained that showed evidence of Grooveshark’s executives directly uploading illegal content into their database for users to access. Presumably spurred on by the support that the anonymous commenter provided, UMG has filed a new complaint against the company that seeks the maximum penalty of $150,000 per upload incidence. Grooveshark has yet to see the complaint and has so far refrained from commenting, but if UMG’s claims are substantiated, it’s only a matter of time before an injunction against the streaming service is put into place.

With a number of new services taking root, including Spotify, that offer free or cheap streaming services while at the same time provide a clear and proven model for paying artists, labels, and other rights holders, it was only a matter of time before Grooveshark would be forced to either explain what their business model actually was beyond selling advertising around unlicensed streams and keeping the profits, or shut down completely. As DMN demonstrated in a brief article from early October where they attempted to get a straight answer from Grooveshark SVP Paul Geller, Grooveshark is good at bullshitting, but not very good at providing concrete answers about how they compensate rights holders for using their artistic output.

• Grooveshark: http://grooveshark.com
• Universal Music Group: http://www.universalmusic.com