Published Nov 21, 2011Grooveshark has long generated controversy, as many within the music industry have questioned whether the streaming music service should be considered legal. Now, the website will be doing battle against the industry's largest record label, as Universal Music Group has slapped Grooveshark with a copyright lawsuit.
Grooveshark has previously argued that, although users have used the website to share copyrighted material, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act states that internet service providers cannot be held liable when users commit infringement. However, Universal's new complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on on Friday (November 18), contends that Grooveshark's executives personally led an effort to post more than 100,000 pirated songs online.
UPDATE: Sony and Warner have also now joined forces with Universal in the lawsuit against Grooveshark.
According to CNET, Universal is asking the courts to shut Grooveshark down. What's more, the label is also seeking monetary damages of $150,000 per infringement.
Universal says that it has documents proving that Grooveshark execs and employees posted pirated songs to the music service. The label reportedly obtained these documents through the legal discovery process following a previous lawsuit against Grooveshark in 2010, when the website was required to turn over its stored information about uploads.
The label also cites a commenter on Digital Music News who claimed to work for Grooveshark. The writer stated, "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."
Grooveshark has not yet responded.
If Universal is successful in its lawsuit, it will be another victory for the world's biggest label, which recently purchased EMI's recorded music division.