Grooveshark Sued Again... Negotiating Via Lawsuit Continues

from the and-so-it-goes dept

We've discussed in the past how the record labels have this habit of "negotiating through lawsuits," in that they will often sue an innovative music startup, even as they're negotiating licensing deals with them, just to get the upperhand in the negotiation. It's happened with countless music startups -- and it's one of the main reasons so few survive. They're overly burdened with ridiculous costs from the beginning. We already saw that EMI used this strategy with Grooveshark, in forcing it into a licensing deal, and apparently Universal Music decided it could do the same thing. It's now suing Grooveshark as well -- even though Grooveshark insists it pays all the appropriate licenses. Of course, the end result of all this is that it gives Grooveshark more publicity, but may make it more difficult for the company to survive.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 11th, 2010 @ 8:46pm

    Grooveshark is different from radio???

    Would someone please explain to me how Grooveshark is different than radio, except for the fact that you can choose what music you want.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Grooveshark is different from radio???

    Simple: It's on the internets!

     

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  3.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 11th, 2010 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Grooveshark is different from radio???

    So that means they can extort more money from someone doing that?

     

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  4.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 11th, 2010 @ 9:10pm

    Mike, I think that there are plenty of negotiations you don't see going on, that aren't made public. I think the lawsuit part is when things hit a blockage and can't move forward anymore. I don't think the lawsuit is the first step.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2010 @ 9:13pm

    Re:

    I think there are aliens from outside Betelgeuse that are pulling the strings behind the scenes.

     

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  6.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 11th, 2010 @ 9:13pm

    Re:

    But it is ONE of the first steps as shown time and time again.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2010 @ 9:29pm

    Re: Re:

    You've got it wrong, man, they're from the inside!

     

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  8.  
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    Luci, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 2:33am

    Re:

    Sure, the same blockage they always hit: the offenders aren't just signing over their money! See, the recording industry doesn't believe anyone deserves money but them. Not even the musicians that are signed with their attendant members. Go ahead, try and prove me wrong.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re:

    Who, the mice?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    cc, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, the dolphins.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:42am

    You ripe what you saw.

    That is what you get when you deal with immoral people.

     

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  12.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:44am

    Re: You ripe what you saw.

    Yup, perhaps the record labels should stop dealing with people like Grooveshark, they always seem to be getting in trouble.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    :), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: You ripe what you saw.

    I agree and the sooner those immoral labels do it the better.
    I hope people start seeing the industry by what they are, a bunch of bloodsucking thieves.

    When people do realize that and stop financing those thieves things will get better.

    People should only consume copyleft material then I want to see those labels starting to make their on copyleft licenses just like Microsoft had to.

    Can the law forbid GPL licenses?

    No? you and your pal's are screwed then.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Musician, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    RE: Labels being theives

    I understand that many people out there distrust the major record labels, call them thieves etc etc.

    While it's true that the major labels - and some independent labels too - have a history of ripping off their signed artists (through all kinds of contractual tricks and games, as well as by not providing the full level of service that the artist was promised), that really doesnt have any impact on the legality of Grooveshark etc offering content to which they don't own the copyright for, and to which they do not compensate the copyright owners for exploitation of said works.

    As a musician, it's very hard right now to straddle the middle line. On the one hand, we spend loads of money and time in creating, recording, releasing and promoting our music, and we do want people to pay for their use of it. That's fair enough, isn't it? On the other hand, we also just want people to listen to our music, to love it, and to carry it with them on their mp3 players!

    An artist that is signed to a label gives over their copyrights to the label in the expectation that the label will use their marketing and distribution might to the artists advantage. And that is what Universal is doing now - it is simply exerting it's rights to their copyrighted works.

    By boycotting the labels, you are also boycotting the artist (who usually makes little from royalties as it is after the label takes its agreed upon share).

    Guys n girls - we all want to be able to listen to music we love, but how much thought do we put into the fact that our unpaid downloads are really hurting the artists ability to survive finacially? The public is forcing musicians to alter their business model, which is fine, but until such time that artists have figured out how to do so (which many are trying, some with success and some without) unpaid downloads are seriously damaging the music economy. You've got to somehow recoup that $15,000 it cost to put out your album...

    If I was signed to a label, I would expect the label to do everything in it's power to stop other BUSINESSES ripping me off - as grooveshark DO by not properly compensating the copyright holders (I know they SAY they do, but the truth of that is yet to be seen by me at least).

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    - eliguth at gmail dot com

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

    Next stop Beetle Juice!

     

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  16.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re: You ripe what you saw.

    First, they ain't "my pals", drop that piece of stupidity.

    Second, think of how popular music sites would be if none of the music on them is known by anyone.

    Call me back when you realize what would happen.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You ripe what you saw.

    People would discover new music?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    You've got to somehow recoup that $15,000 it cost to put out your album...

    You can try but no one owes you that money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Musician, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    In reference to grooveshark, they definitely legally owe licensing fee's to the copyright holders.

    True, they don't owe you $15,000 per se - that amount has nothing to do with them or their licensing fees - but they do owe a certain amount for the licensing of that copyrighted material, which is determined by a bunch of factors and is up for negotiation. And that is why they are being sued, because they are not licensed to distribute much of their catalog.

    I'm not sure about the details regarding people that download through torrents etc, however I'm pretty sure that if they are acquiring your copyrighted material they need to compensate you accordingly (which can vary based on agreements between the copyright holder and the retailer).

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Musician, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Grooveshark is different from radio???

    The difference is very big -

    Legal radio stations pay liscence fees for their use of the tracks they broadcast, unless they have permission from the rights holder.

    As opposed to pirate radio stations which don't pay fees, and therefore get shut down if they are caught etc..

    Who is extorting money here, I don't understand your logic?? Have you not heard of law? Our whole society is based on laws, one section of them being copyright laws.

    I'm no fan of big business, and of corporate monopolies etc, but at the end of the day Universal is simply standing up for their copyrights!

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Musician, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re:

    This is all 'Music Industry 101'.

    Read any recording contract and you will proved wrong:

    Royalties are split according to agreements between the artist and labels.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Musician, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re:

    I just want to clarify something -

    Grooveshark is being sued for using pre-1972 recordings. In 1972 the laws changed, and are now covered by other laws. So this lawsuit isnt over ALL of the music on Grooveshark, just the pre-1972 releases owned by Universal.

    For releases after 1972 Grooveshark is relying on the DMCA laws (as does Youtube etc). It essentially means that they are safe from prosecution until they receive a take-down notice from the copyright owner (or agree to pay licensing fees) -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act

     

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  23.  
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    ddbb (profile), Jan 12th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    Re: RE: Labels being theives

    Musician,

    How are you putting out an album for only $15,000?

    Also, you asked how Grooveshark is compensating musicians. I'll tell you. By making their music accessible to people like me who otherwise would not have heard it. I actually purchase physical CDs, lots of them. I also purchase music through downloads. I can't begin to tell you how much was purchased after hearing it on Yahoo! Launch (way back when), Grooveshark (which I like a lot), Seeqpod (which I liked even more and miss terribly), and Pandora (which gets really repetitive really fast, thank you licensing deals). Or how many concerts I saw featuring those artists. Or how many other people I told about those artists who also purchased their products.

    So go ahead and hide your music away until I'm ready to pay for the privilege to listen. Chances are I will never hear about it in the first place.

    In addition, few musicians recoup anything. In fact, many of us make music without any expectation that we will be paid and are happy enough just to have people listen to it. The public does not owe you a living or even reimbursement of expenses for your contribution to humanity. It is your responsibility to give us a reason to buy.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Next stop Beetle Juice!

    I dare you to say that three times ..... :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Musician, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:32pm

    Re: Re: RE: Labels being theives

    I think you are slightly misreading my point -

    I am addressing the reasons that it is legitimate of Universal to sue Grooveshark.

    I am not saying that there aren't benefits to musicians having their music shared etc. But that is a choice for the copyright owner to make, not someone else. You can't just walk into a shop, walk out with a pair of Nikes and then claim that its beneficial for Nike because you love your new shoes and tell everyone about them. It's up to Nike to make promo's etc - thats their decision.

    Digital goods are different than physical goods, so its not a 100% good comparisson, but the POINT is that it's the owners decision (in this case the owner of the copyright) how and to whom to distribute their work.

    I personally agree with you - I think it is an amazing thing that people can discover new music through these services. And I realize that new fans might be made as a result. But its up to the creator of the work to decide how and when to release it.

    See my other comment about being 'owed' something. I'm not saying anyone owe's me $15,000. But 'if' i decide to sell my music as opposed to give it away, well then they owe me whatever I am selling it for.

     

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  26.  
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    tony russo, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    grooveshark has been sued! what for!

    come on people!what is so bad about grooveshark! it's just a website for teens to make a playlist and listen to MUSIC whenever you want AND it's better than PANDORA or any other site AND I have alot of people that agree with me

     

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  27.  
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    tony russo, Apr 28th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    grooveshark has been sued! what for!

    and no one will MISREAD YOUR POINT THAT HAS NO POINT!!!!!!!

     

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  28.  
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    Pedro, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    Funny how certain industries need anti-competitive government monopolies to survive.

    IMO, the entire legal system is immoral, if not unconstitutional. 95+% of people in the US could never afford to defend themselves in court if sued

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: RE: Labels being theives

    screw you your lively hood is not in jeopardy. If every time your paycheck came it just said oh some people know who you are now so be grateful you would probably go on a rampage. Dont be so ignorant

     

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