The Future Under SOPA: Group Too Lazy To Police Own Copyrights Seeks To Block Access To Grooveshark's Legal Music Service

from the how-censorship-works dept

Want just a glimpse of the future under SOPA, should that bill pass? Over in Denmark, where the local anti-piracy agency Antipiratgruppen has been successful in getting courts to order ISPs to block access to sites like The Pirate Bay, it appears the group is now targeting Grooveshark for a similar blockade. Of course, Grooveshark functions no different than YouTube functions. It obeys the DMCA and takes down content when requested. Users do upload their own music, just as they do on YouTube, and Grooveshark has done some additional licensing deals — such as with EMI. But apparently, rather than deal with the actual law, the group in Denmark just wants Grooveshark added to the country’s blacklist. Apparently, the fact that there’s tons of legal music on the site is meaningless, just so long as one group declares that the site is dedicated to infringement. That, of course, is exactly what SOPA will allow as well. Make an accusation and you can totally shut down a competitive startup. In fact, some have responded to this lawsuit by noting that it came after competitor Spotify (which is owned, in part, by the labels) entered the market, suggesting that the timing of the attempted blockade is no surprise, and that’s it’s really more about clearing the decks for the RIAA’s own offering.

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Companies: antipiratgruppen, grooveshark

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Comments on “The Future Under SOPA: Group Too Lazy To Police Own Copyrights Seeks To Block Access To Grooveshark's Legal Music Service”

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cjstg (profile) says:

Re: Hey, another new business model!

did anyone ever stop to think that any site, product, etc. that the labels, studios, publishers ever try to set up can be blocked simply by having anyone make an accusation of infringement? i agree that this bill is horrible, but it will definitely work both ways. the labels and their cronies will spend the rest of the decade in court defending their websites. it could effectively shut off any kind of content on the internet.

i see the potential for a war of tit-for-tat accusations and shutdowns that will flow over the internet much the same way that patent lawsuits are currently doing to technology development.

my real fear here is that at some point it becomes impossible for anyone to do anything productive in the technology or creative arena. they can spend time creating the best “x” the world has ever seen, but as soon as they present it someone will sue them or order them taken down.

truly sad.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hey, another new business model!

It work both ways but the costs are not the same and so are the results also there is this bias in favor of the incumbents.

The little business will be decimated by something like that, the medium business probably will become the new little guys and the big players just believe they can take it.

Remember those are the guys that sue mothers and students for millions of dollars that are a thousand times the earnings of those people in a year, but are the same ones that when sued get a slap in the wrist from the courts in the way of reduced fines that are nowhere near what others get, there are two courts, one for us and one for them.

Justice is not blind anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hey, another new business model!

You people are either liars or idiots.

Grooveshark’s business model is based on Mike Masnick’s favorite: illegal infringement.

How much music do you think Masnick rips off every week?

Anyway, Grooveshark should hopefully be sued out of existence shortly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Let’s see… right about 10 years since any of my money went to the RIAA. I stopped downloading about that time too.

These assholes sucked all of my enjoyment from their music. Do you know what destroys the value of your product faster than piracy? Pissing off your customers to the point that they no longer enjoy your product and would rather burn their wallets than see you with a cent of their money.

Maybe, just maybe, I will once again attempt to enjoy music some day after the last major label falls apart under the weight of its own greed and incompetence. Or, more likely, I’ll just decide that I haven’t needed music to enjoy myself for so long that it isn’t really worth trying again.

/end pissed off rant

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Last album I bought was probably that long ago as well.

Let me check. Looks like about 1998-99.

I heard a song on the radio, liked it so I bought the album.

Who would know, after listening to “What it’s Like,” that the album would be rap? WHITEY FORd SINgS tHe bLueS, EVeRLaST

17 songs I don’t want to hear and a genre I do not wish to support

No need for me to download, I had already bought all my tunes before I even heard of internet.

This lovely contraption I call “MY PC” does a remarkable job of restoring my old “licenses” back to pristine shape.

Butcherer79 (profile) says:

A sad state of affairs

With the other post made yesterday about the pressure being put on BT Broadband to do the same ‘voluntary’ blocks, it would seem that Europe doesn’t even need a SOPA type bill to be passed before enforcing these blocks.
What a sad state of affairs for all concerned.
I’ve got a horrible feeling that this issue will snowball once a few countries accept it as the ‘norm’ and that a lot of legit domains, instead of taking down infringing content will be taken down completely at the cost of independant artists.
The more that this is pushed through the courts, the less outrageous it will appear, once precedents are set, they can be used to argue the next, then those two used for the next until eventually, it won’t even be a case of going to the courts because the ISP’s will eventually just roll over (or be told to) because of the thousands of examples that will be held as ‘precedents’.

LyleD says:

Re: A sad state of affairs

Very.. It’s looking more and more like a slippery slope indeed..

In the end though, I think it may all be for the best.. They’re helping to create a better future.. People wont take more and more of the crap they’re shoveling.. The more they shove it down people throats, the more people will wake up to it.. They’re scared and desperate enough to openly show the corruption in passing these crap laws.. Good!

Pirate Parties are winning seats because of it 🙂

anonymous says:

this is no different to what all the entertainment industries are doing. they want their content prevented from going on the ‘net or when it does, it wants it removed asap. they want everyone else to do this for them at no cost to the entertainment industries and regardless of the cost in time, effort and money to those other companies. if i go out, leave my door open, then get burgled and when asked by the police what i did, what am i told, by them and by the insurance company? YOUR FAULT! YOU GET NOTHING! so explain to me why these arse holes get to pass the buck to anyone and everyone else, at absolutely no cost to them AND keep any and all proceeds from it instead of passing it to the artists that are supposedly being ‘looked after’?

Wig says:

What would you do?

The legacy media corporations, especially the few big ones, have enjoyed a long period where they were able to control every aspect of the music/movie lifecycle. They had the artists under contract to create content, they had the production facilities to record and duplicate it, the distribution channels to get the product in the shops and the marketing machine to let the world know about it.
There’s no difference with a factory of plastic cups: design (create), produce (duplicate the creation), distribute (sell) and marketing…

The reason why artists wanted to be associated (“under contract”) with these media factories was the simple fact that the artists didn’t have the resources to duplicate or distribute or promote their work. Simply put: they needed the big studio’s.

Enter the internet and modern recording technology.

About every aspect of the “media factory” is now within reach of just about every artist. They can record their content with consumer-grade equipment and distribute and promote it over the internet all by themselves. Often, they will experiment with new business models to see what works best in order to live off their art. Some might give away copies of content in order to promote live performances, others might find other ways of promoting and selling their content. Point is that the freedom of the artists to choose what works best in their particular case, is what allows them to be more successful.

Of course, there will always be big or bigger projects where the artists need support (both financial and technical) in order to create the content they imagine (think movies). But the fact is that there are plenty of new, smaller and yet technically competent competitors that can support the artists in monetizing their creative process without the need for the big media studios and the (mostly) unfair contracts they offer.

From the point of view of the legacy media corporations, these new possibilities are a disaster: they realize they are no longer needed.

And that is the point where the legacy media corporations discover that they are actually worthless without new content. About as useful as a factory for plastic cups without a designer of interesting cups. They can only duplicate what others have created.

So, their survival tactic seems to be twofold:
First, they will squeeze every penny from every bit of content that they own. To do so, they need expansion of copyright terms, licensing content in stead of selling, unrelentless enforcement of copyright etc.

Second, they need to make it difficult for other distribution and/or promotion channels to come to the market. That is done through censoring / blocking / blacklisting of these competitors.

Basically, the entertaiment factories are lobbying their asses off in order to get legislation in place (and not just in the US, worldwide) that will allow them to obtain these two goals before their empire crumbles to the ground.

Why? Because that would allow them to not change. To remain as they were. At least untill the next fiscal year and the next big bonus…

But even they must realize that this is a loosing battle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What would you do?

All the internet does is make it 1000 times worse – because now not only are you competing with other label acts for attention, you are now competing with every garage band, “remix artist”, and button pushing sample player out there for the public’s attention. Good luck with that, the noise level is going up, and the chance you get heard through it continues to drop.

But even you must realize that this is a loosing battle.

alex (profile) says:

Grooveshark is an interesting case. I don’t think it’s quite right to say they function the same as YouTube do. They use the same DMCA safe-harbours to justify the legality of their model, but they also don’t take any steps to prevent music owned by companies who don’t wish to have their music on the service from being uploaded (or re-uploaded following a take-down request). YouTube use a “ContentID” fingerprinting technology which allows them to ID tracks uploaded which should not be there and they are automatically blocked.

Grooveshark offer payments to those labels who want their catalogs on there but, as a colleague of mine discovered recently, the rates they offer are much worse than Spotify for example, and it’s a simple take-it-or-leave-it kind of deal.

In other words, they are offering far below average per-stream rates, and no way to opt-out other than to continually search the site for tracks and send take-down notices.

I’m 100% against censoring the internet but I don’t see Grooveshark’s current business model as being a particularly good thing for the industry, regardless of its legal status.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think it is also important to realize that, while Grooveshark might respect the minimum requirements of DMCA, that DMCA is NOT (repeat NOT) the law of the land in Denmark.

Mike, why do you insist on playing US laws as trump when you like them, and then claim no jurisdiction when you don’t?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why do you attribute things to others they didn’t do or say muppet?

Dishonest as always I see.

Plucking an action from a different place to illustrate what would happen in another has nothing to do with the laws of the land and everything to do with your capacity to imagine things, so one can only guess that you are an unimaginative fat pencil pusher that because of it is pretty bad of what he/she does.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


Let’s see… right about 10 years since any of my money went to the RIAA. I stopped downloading about that time too.

I didn’t jump that long ago, but I must say that the labels definitely killed emusic, and I was downloading music up until that time off of emusic. I liked it back with all there was was independent musicians, but then they started working with the labels and they jacked the price up, killed off redownloads (even when their piece of junk software failed to download the file properly,) and then dropped a majority of the independent musicians I listened to. They may still exist, but they are dead to me.

Now I tend to just download music directly from the artists website — but I do a hell of a lot less of that too, because many artists still use the label website to sell their crap, and I am tired of having to get a new credit card every three months because another label website gets hacked and my credit card is used to buy trips to foreign locales and DirectTV boxes shipped to PO Boxes or safe-houses in the Bronx. If they don’t take a third party payment and they require me to provide a user-id and password, I don’t give them any money. Wish the bands out there would figure this out — their labels are screwing them and they are screwing their customers.

/end equally pissed off rant.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

What would you do?

All the internet does is make it 1000 times worse – because now not only are you competing with other label acts for attention, you are now competing with every garage band, “remix artist”, and button pushing sample player out there for the public’s attention. Good luck with that, the noise level is going up, and the chance you get heard through it continues to drop.

And yet, musicians are still making money. The secret is to stop trying to copy everyone else and try to understand the root of the problem, which Mike says all the time — Connect with your fans and give the customer a reason to buy.

Why is Felicia Day or Justin Bieber making money? Why are musicians and authors online making money? Could it be that instead of saying “I cannot make money because its too hard to connect with my fans because there are too many other people connecting with fans,” you could go out there and figure out what it is that these folks are doing? I’ll give you a hint, a lot of them started out not by pricing their stuff at $15 and throwing their hands up when they didn’t make any money. A lot of them put their stuff out for free or for low cost, and then when people found their stuff, they liked it and bought a lot more. J.A. Konrath put out free books to entice customers…Felicia Day put out free webisodes…Justin Bieber uploaded free videos to YouTube. People saw their stuff and went crazy. Also, if you put your stuff out there and people don’t buy it, maybe you should consider another line of work.

davnel (profile) says:

Not Unexpected

Let’s face it. The content industry won’t be happy until no one except them have control of all content. They don’t want ANY third-party companies making money on THEIR stuff, only them. Sounds kinda like the kid in the park, with the only baseball, saying you can’t use it until you pay him.

If you listen to that video from Viacom, the only thing they’re whining about is MONEY. It all comes down to greed.

My only problem with this whole fiasco is that the content folks won’t admit their goals and are costing us a fortune in litigation. Why don’t they just shut everyone down and run their own content provision company, and shut up about it.

Wig says:

What would you do?

All the internet does is make it 1000 times worse

Actually, no. If anything, it allows the artists to bypass the legacy media factories faster and more efficient than ever before.

And because the internet is so easily accessible and so open (at least for now), it allows the artists to be creative and experiment with novel ways of distribution and promotion. And if there is one group of people I trust to be creative enough to find new and successful ways to get their art to the public, then it must be the artists.

Now, there are undoubtedly a lot of artists that fail. That has always been the case, internet or not. But there are also artists who make it because they embrace the new technology and use it to create a stage on which they are seen/heard (ever heard of this guy called Justin Bieber?).

Our culture can grow when it allows more artists to express themselves and find an audience. The internet empowers that. The media corporations have only been focused on protecting what they have and even limiting the expression and creativity of others. That actually shrinks our culture by putting a filter on it.

I just hope that enough people (especially those in the media factories) realize in time that the collateral damage of attacking the open and accessible nature of the internet may be a lot worse than the problem they’re ostensibly fighting.

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