Grooveshark weighs in on copyright infringement court ruling, plans appeal

A three-year legal dispute involving Gainesville-based music streaming website Grooveshark resolved Monday when a U.S. District Court in Manhattan issued a summary judgment holding the company liable for copyright infringement.

The ruling states that Grooveshark is responsible for copyright infringement because employees uploaded and distributed 5,977 unlicensed music files to get the database off the ground, the New York Times reported.

The Business Report reached out to Grooveshark for a local perspective on how the company affects the community and how the lawsuit will affect the company.

Grooveshark spokesman James A. Pearson said the company is planning to appeal the decision. Here’s what else he had to say:

Q: How will Grooveshark move beyond Monday’s court ruling?
Grooveshark cannot comment on our current litigation, but we can continue to operate our business ethically and honestly — with first-to-market technology as we have done since 2006. I can also say Grooveshark’s current service has provided millions of dollars in revenue to artists and labels globally.  This decision dealt specifically with an early iteration of Grooveshark which we discontinued in 2008 in favor of our current music streaming service.  In turn, we respectfully disagree with the decision, and we are assessing next steps, which will all focus on remaining extremely committed to ensuring we respect artist and songwriter copyrights.

Q: How have Grooveshark’s policies and practices changed since the company’s founding and the filing of the lawsuit?

A: Prior to 2008, the service was a paid music download platform that functioned like a “Buy-Sell-Trade” store, in which users paid for individual tracks. This is very different from the model of our current popular music streaming service, modeled off of YouTube, in which users play songs directly through a browser without the capability of downloads.

Q: What would you like readers to know about what Grooveshark contributes to Gainesville’s rich technology business community?

A: We always knew that our service could serve as a powerful tool for labels to build engaged fan evangelism for artists. We prove this daily when we promote and socialize exclusive content to our global audience of nearly 30 million listeners. We want to support local musicians just as we do our broadcasters and international musicians. Grooveshark was built with the goal of connecting artists and rabid fans. That’s our core edict, and it was born from the support the regional community has shown the company to this day.

Q: What would you like people to know about Grooveshark’s future moving forward?

A: Our immediate plan of action will be to continue to serve our nearly 30 million listeners with exclusive music, brand promotions, new technology and new device partners — all exclusively for Grooveshark users — which again has been our core edict from day one.


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