Digital streaming music service Grooveshark has been swimming in murky water, so to speak, for several years now. In 2011, labels and artists including Relapse and King Crimson stated that their music was on the service without their permission, and that when they sent the links to have the music taken down, it would go back up almost instantly. Then in 2012, the major labels sued the service, stating the same thing. Yesterday, the United States District Court rendered their decision, and found Grooveshark guilty of copyright infringement. Grooveshark CEO Samuel Tarantino and co-founder/CTO Josh Greenberg will likely be the ones facing the heaviest charges, with many other Grooveshark employees settling out of court in exchange for their testimony.
That testimony was pretty damning. While Grooveshark had licenses for some of the music streaming on the service, they didn’t for all of it. They claimed that uploading music they didn’t have licenses to was legal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as long as it was taken down when asked by the copyright holders. However, it was found that the major labels had a total of 5,977 songs uploaded without their permission by employees, including Tarantino and Greenberg. The ruling also showed that evidence, including lists of the files that were uploaded, were destroyed by Grooveshark. Damages will be handed down next, but the gist of the ruling is that if you haven’t switched to Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio or Beats yet, you might want to think about it, since the ruling could be in the millions of dollars against Grooveshark.
[via New York Times]