Grooveshark owners Escape Media and Digital Music News will be facing off into L.A. court today. The outcome is important, not just to the handful of us who write about the new music industry, but to anyone who has ever commented on a story on any blog or web site.
In October, an anonymous commenter on Digital Music News claimed to be a Grooveshark employee. He described a pattern of institutionalized copyright infringement within the company, including paid staffers uploading copyrighted songs to fill in gaps in the Grooveshark offering.
A subpoena that's part of it's ongoing legal battles with EMI and rightsholders followed, with Grooveshark demanding the identity of the commenter. Digital Music News declined. "We simply cannot comply with this subpoena, because we do not retain IP address information related to commenters after a short period.," says Paul Resnikoff, the publisher of DMN. "Beyond that, we feel that Grooveshark is trampling on important First Amendment, Shield Law, and privacy protections with this action."
Thanks to an introduction by fellow blogger, Mike Masnick of Techdirt, Paul will be represented by Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy. In explaining his motivation for taking the case, Levy said: "Somehow the prospect of letting a company search a journalist’s files... in the hopes of finding useful deleted information is a chilling one."