Move over TomKat, the biggest break-up story of 2012 is sure to be the ongoing saga between EMI and Grooveshark. After trying to make things work back in 2009, EMI has since sued Grooveshark twice, and is now stepping up to the plate for a third go at the embroiled music streaming service. Claiming once again that Grooveshark is in breach of contract and that it has used EMI recordings without authorization, Billboard reports that EMI is seeking to drag the couple’s dirty laundry into the courtroom this time and hopes to get a big payday when all is said and done.
What makes this go ‘round any different than the last? Well, EMI is expecting Grooveshark to claim that it is in “safe harbor” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but EMI is going to counter that claim by showing that Grooveshark contractually agreed to prevent EMI recordings from being distributed through the site, even when said recordings were uploaded by users and not directly by Grooveshark. The DMCA only protects violators who take down illegal materials when asked to do so, and EMI sees their previous agreement as the necessary request that would require Grooveshark to remove EMI recordings found on the site. If you’ve ever used Grooveshark, you know they’re not doing jack shit to prevent anything from being found using their search engine, regardless of the content’s origin.
Will EMI (or the other three major labels suing Grooveshark) succeed? Given the site’s miraculous track record of moving forward in the face of adversity, it’s always possible, and they seem pretty upbeat about the whole ordeal, with the company releasing a statement saying that “although this is the third time EMI/Capitol has sued Grooveshark, we are confident that we will settle this case in a manner that satisfies all parties.” Still, this development may have contributed to Grooveshark’s abbreviated reappearance in Google’s Play marketplace last week. With a new HTML5 version of their site that will work on iOS devices (as well as a regular mobile Flash version that has always worked on Androids), though, Grooveshark is always ready to find a new workaround that will inevitably piss someone off. It’s what they’re good at.