That Grooveshark is still in business is a surprise to many. The music streaming service has fought and mostly lost a series of lawsuits with record labels since 2009. Will a new loss to EMI by the final nail in this sharks' coffin?
Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York has granted EMI Music's motion for a summary judgment against Escape Media, the parent company of music streaming service Grooveshark for infringing on its copyrights.
Damages for the 2807 EMI copyrighted tracks found on Grooveshark's servers could total $420 million. The court set May 8th as the date to discuss damages, but Grooveshark can appeal the ruling.
While Grooveshark has since shifted to a streaming model that is more in compliance with current interpretations of the law, the company is still reeling from its early years as a music streamer operating without required licences from most labels and rights holders.
Grooveshark: Unfairly Targeted Innovator Or Deliberate Lawbreaker
Since 2009, Grooveshark has often sought to paint itself as an innovator wronged by the big bad music companies. Even after yesterday's ruling, Grooveshark was defiant,
" We understand that courts are shaping this area of the law at the same time that innovative companies like Grooveshark and others operate on a daily basis."
Grooveshark has claimed protection under the Digital Copyright Management Act which shields some online companies who do not encourage infringement and respond quickly to takedown notices. Yesterday, Grooveshark again claimed that it does and spelled out its policies:
"Our ‘one-strike’ repeat infringer policy is even faster than the ‘three-strike’ policies used regularly in the industry for stopping infringing uploads, and we believe our ‘DMCA Lite’ option goes above and beyond DMCA requirements by executing good-faith takedowns in a variety of situations where proper DMCA takedown notices are not provided."
But, yet again a judge has ruled that Grooveshark's policies did not meet the standards set in the DMCA. According to Billboard, Judge Nahan cited Grooveshark's failure to terminate repeat infringers while "actively" preventing copyright holders from collecting the information needed to process takedown requests.