Grooveshark in hot water over online music streaming

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Earlier this year we shared a story with you about how Google had removed the Grooveshark app from the Android Marketplace. Florida-based Grooveshark is an online music streaming service which has drawn attention from the recording industry for its business model which allows users to upload and share music even if they do not have a licensing agreement for the music.

Now a group of music publishers and songwriters have filed a federal lawsuit against Grooveshark claiming that the online service provides access to many songs for which they have not obtained licenses. The group that brought the lawsuit includes the man who wrote the song “Rhinestone Cowboy” and the former lead singer of Grand Funk Railroad.

Grooveshark has already been sued by EMI and Universal Music Group. EMI dropped their lawsuit when they reached a settlement through which included a licensing agreement for all of EMI’s music. A spokesman for Grooveshark says that they are hoping to reach a similar agreement with Universal.

Grooveshark maintains that its ultimate goal is to obtain licenses for every piece of music in the world. They argue that they are covered by the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that any rights owner can have music taken down from their service by sending an email.

But many in the music industry do not appreciate this approach, claiming that waiting to take action until you get caught is not an appropriate business practice. A similar service called Spotify was recently released in the US after long being a favorite in Europe. Unlike Grooveshark, Spotify obtained license for all of the music which they provide on their service.

Source: The Tennessean “Suit against Grooveshark seeks music-streaming revenue” Brandon Gee, Aug. 2, 2011