Lawsuits Against Grooveshark Continue; Music Publishers Seek To Redefine The DMCA

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

Grooveshark has been involved in a series of lawsuits from the recording industry and, as with the Limewire lawsuits, it looks like the music publishers are piggybacking on the labels by suing later. We've already explained why Grooveshark appears to follow the rules set out by the DMCA, but I would imagine that Grooveshark is the sort of site where judges simply won't like the idea of it, and will thus figure out a way to rule against it. That could be very problematic.

To make their case, the publishers are trying to claim that Grooveshark is not a service provider for the purpose of the DMCA. It's going to be difficult to have that claim stick, as courts have generally (correctly, in our opinion) deemed a wide spectrum of offerings to meet the "service provider" hurdle. And then the lawsuit gets even sillier. It claims that Grooveshark itself is doing everything that its users are actually doing. It's as if the publishers wish to simply pretend that the DMCA doesn't exist and that liability automatically applies to the service provider.

I think it's difficult for anyone to argue that Grooveshark is any different technically from YouTube, but when it comes to these sorts of things the industry isn't known for actually understanding what these offerings are really about, preferring instead to leap straight to the freak-out-that-must-be-illegal stage...


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 5:01am

    Again it looks like, if we are not making loads of money out of this, it must be illegal. FIRE THE LAWYERS AT THEM.

     

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    A Guy, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 5:25am

    IANAL, but it looks like Grooveshark complies with the DMCA. Assuming it does takedowns after requested and it hasn't knowingly directed users to infringing material like limewire did or encourage its users to upload and seek infringing materials, it will probably be fine.

    Viacom v. Youtube is a pretty strong precedent.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 6:23am

      Re:

      Viacom v. Youtube is a pretty strong precedent.


      Not when Grooveshark is the “sort of site where judges simply won't like the idea of it, and will thus figure out a way to rule against it.”

      The system would be more fair if the judges just flipped a coin.

       

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        Atkray (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re:

        I think you may have just come up with a workable legal system. It would certainly speed up things and with appeals being the same procedure you could make it a best 3 out of 5.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 6:56am

      Re:

      Actually, the YouTube / Viacom case is very much on point here, for other reasons. If YouTube had not installed filtering software, if YouTube had not generally limited video length to avoid "full episode" postings, and things like that, it is very likely they would have lost in court very quickly.

      YouTube too proactive action that has kept them from being crushed by the copyright giants.

      Grooveshark is getting way to many DMCA notices to not have an idea what their service is being used for. Are the aggressive in terminating offending users? Or do they just remove the offending video and let the user keep uploading anyway?

      You can also go on down the line: If Groovesharks knows a user constantly uploads offending material, but encourages them to do so anyway, at what point to they stop being a service provider and start being a participant in the infringing?

       

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        The eejit (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re:

        ...and yet Viacom STILL went ahead and sued. There's a ridiculous workaround for that: split it into multiple parts.

        I also find it amusing that you refer to the hilarious ContentID system. If Youtube infringes, it is because the user has uploaded it. Whilst I would LOVE to see Roger Ailes arrested for consistent torture of logic, it is his legal right to do that.

        Also, perhaps you're unfamiliar with sharing increasing sales, whether by direct piracy or unintentional piracy.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You said: " If Youtube infringes, it is because the user has uploaded it."

          Me: If Youtube infringes, it is because the user has uploaded it and YouTube declined to check the material before publishing it on their website, aggregating it, and distributing it.

          FTFY.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 12:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If Youtube infringes, it is because the users have uploaded 48 hours of video per minute and YouTube declined to check the material before publishing it on their website, aggregating it, and distributing it.

            FTFY

             

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        A Guy, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re:

        The court probably will spank them if they don't terminate repeatedly infringing users accounts.

        However, the law does not require them to limit the time a song plays. It's classic dual use. They put together a service to promote bands and offered to compensate them for playing their songs over the grooveshark service. If indie bands want to utilize such a service, it should be legal.

        As I understand it (repeat IANAL) filtering could push the ruling in their favor, but it is part of a test that could go either way, not a requirement of the legislature.

        If they took the proactive step of terminating accounts, they will probably be fine (IANAL). If they did not, they will get shut down and a similar service that does follow the letter of the law will shortly pop up.

        ;-)

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 7:59am

        Re: Re:

        Who has determined this "offending" material to be infringing? I thought that was down to a judicial decision. If there is no judicial decision and finding of infringement, then why are any of these services terminating anyone's accounts based on accusations only?

         

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          A Guy, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the user never filed a counter notice after getting a DMCA takedown it is reasonable to believe/probable (civil standard not criminal) that the use was infringing.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 11:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Since when is the civil standard 'guilty until proved innocent?'

            No, if the user never filed a counter notice after getting a DMCA takedown it is reasonable to believe/probable that the user didn't want to fight and not even a bit more than that.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 11:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Which means exactly nothing. It's not proof of infringement. Infringement is not up to the rightsholder, the alleged infringer, the ISP, you or me or Santy Clause to decide. It is for a judge to decide.

             

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    Fickelbra (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 5:28am

    100% of my Grooveshark usage has been to find songs I already know about to let my friends listen to. Clearly, Grooveshark is committing a great crime by allowing me to make others aware of music I like.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Why would anybody use grooveshark now that spotify is available? Spoitify is way cooler to use and sounds better.

     

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    Rekrul, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    'A major new piece of legislation was announced today: The "Getting Rid of Every External Distribution", or GREED Act, which is intended to protect the entertainment industry. Introduced by Senator Ben Dover, the bill eschews the complex and ambiguous language of previous bills, which left loopholes and exceptions, and simply states that any business which does not direct benefit the entertainment industry, or which the entertainment industry objects to, is illegal. A top Entertainment industry executive stated that this bill will not only help the economy, but will benefit consumers as well by eliminating low-quality pirated content in favor of high quality, authorized sources. The bill is expected to pass through congress with little opposition and be signed into law very soon despite broad opposition from technology companies, consumer groups and well know law professors. When asked for a comment, Senator Dover replied "This bill won't just help the economy, it will also benefit consumers by eliminating low-quality pirated content in favor of high quality, authorized sources." Industry lawyers are already said to be preparing Cease & Desist letters for YouTube, Google, BitTorrent, all Usenet providers, DVD burner & MP3 player manufacturers, TiVo, and a wide range of other companies and services.'

     

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    Atkray (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    I cried.

     

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