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November 23, 2011

The End Is Nigh for Grooveshark

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Grooveshark seems to be under fire, thanks to a lawsuit from Universal. The suit claims that Grooveshark has uploaded over 113,000 songs illegally, which could spell the end of days for the streaming music service.


Well, at $150,000 a pop, the price that Universal wants for each illegally uploaded song, it’s looking like there just even enough money in the business to settle the matter for anyone.

Gizmodo claims via The Next Web that it was only 1,971 songs, but even still, that would equate to $15 billion, which is hardly a drop in the bucket.

Execs at the streaming platform claim that remove unlicensed content if and when made aware of it, and therefore are protected from liability for copyright infringement under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Grooveshark attorney Marshall Custer yesterday said that the Digital Music News post was “blatantly false” and that Universal’s interpretation of their upload data was a “gross mischaracterization of information.”

Custer’s full statement reads: “We have reviewed the complaint that Universal Music Group (News - Alert) filed last Friday against Grooveshark in the US District Court in Manhattan. Universal’s claims rest almost entirely on an anonymous, blatantly false Internet blog comment and Universal’s gross mischaracterization of information that Grooveshark itself provided to Universal. While Universal has deliberately engaged the media prior to serving a copy of the complaint on Grooveshark, Grooveshark intends to fight this battle before the Court, not in the press. Grooveshark welcomes the opportunity to present the facts to the Court and has full confidence that it will prevail in the litigation.”

In last Friday's filing, first reported by Greg Sandoval of CNet UMG offers alleged proof including company e-mails and other documents that shows "that the sound recordings illegally copied by Escape's executives and employees, include thousands of well known sound recordings owned by UMG.",

Included in the evidence presented by UMG is a comment on Digital Music News which the blog says it never vetted. The comment by an alleged Grooveshark employee states:

"We are assigned a predetermined amount of weekly uploads to the system and get a small extra bonus if we manage to go above that (not easy).The assignments are assumed as direct orders from the top to the bottom, we don't just volunteer to 'enhance' the Grooveshark database." 

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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