[Updated]: Grooveshark Liable for Copyright Infringement

GroovesharkIn a decision from the US District Court in Manhattan, Grooveshark was found liable for copyright infringement of nine record companies, Arista Music, Arista Records, Atlantic Recording, Elektra Entertainment Group, LaFace Records, Sony Music, UMG Recordings, Warner Bros. Records, and Zomba Recording.

Announced Monday (Sept. 29), employees and officers of “the world’s largest on-demand music discovery service” were discovered to have uploaded some files themselves. In all 5,977 files were cited; a portion of those allegedly involved in the company-wide effort “to ensure that the music catalog remained complete” after DMCA takedowns. The court specifically found Escape Media Group Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Josh Greenberg, directly responsible for 144 files, which were streamed 21,000 times. The streaming service, supported by advertising revenue, is the sole business of Escape Media Group.

[Updated (October 1 by MusicRow)]: A statement released by Grooveshark on Tuesday read, “This latest news dealt specifically with an early version of Grooveshark which we dispensed of in 2008 in favor or our current music streaming service. As such we will continue to work with all parties to ensure we respect all artist and songwriter copyrights…Grooveshark’s service has already provided millions of dollars in revenue to artists and labels all over the world, and we are incredibly proud of this.”

[Continuing with the previously reported article]: The present litigation arose – resulting from a 2010 lawsuit by plaintiff UMG for pre-1972 recordings not subject to federal law – when it was revealed Escape Media Group staff were not only uploading music but allegedly destroyed the evidence of having done so.

An appeal may come from Grooveshark, noted attorney John J. Rosenberg to the New York Times. The paper’s Ben Sisario went on, “The next step of the case will be to set damages, and the possibility of a multimillion-dollar ruling against Grooveshark puts the service’s future in doubt.” Digital Music News has the full decision.

Grooveshark currently faces multiple music-related copyright suits.

Similarly, Sirius XM was recently found liable for copyright infringement for pre-1972 recordings from a federal judge in California. Damages remain to be set for that case, which came from The Turtles’ Flo & Eddie seeking $100 million.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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