Court Realizes That Maybe It Can't Order Cloudflare To Proactively Block Any New Grooveshark From Ever Appearing

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

After Grooveshark shut down a few months ago, some individuals set up a site that looked kind of like Grooveshark, but with a totally different backend, and used a variety of URLs that included Grooveshark on different top level domain systems. The RIAA, as it's been known to do, freaked out, and filed a lawsuit. As part of this, it sought a restraining order and injunction, which it got. The RIAA then insisted that the restraining order applied to CDN provider Cloudflare, despite not actually being a part of the case. Cloudflare, as a non-party worried about the impact of such a restraining order, stepped into the case to protest, but the judge still ruled against Cloudflare despite the fact that the ridiculously broad injunction went really far, basically saying that no site with the word "Grooveshark" in the domain could use Cloudflare, even if that was a domain like "GroovesharkSucks-GoBuyMusic.com."

Cloudflare complied, but asked the court to modify the ridiculously overbroad injunction, as it could easily be read to say that Cloudflare itself then had to proactively police every use of its service to make sure no one tried to similarly post a Grooveshark-related site. Instead, it asked the judge to, at the very least, require the RIAA to alert Cloudflare to sites that it believed were violating the injunction. The RIAA, of course, argued that Cloudflare had the full responsibility of proactively making sure no new Groovesharks showed up. The judge has now clarified the original injunction, saying that, yes, the RIAA needs to alert Cloudflare to any future problematic sites, but denying Cloudflare's request for a five day turnaround time.

The initial injunction still seems tremendously problematic in just how broad it is. Here's what it covers, saying that basically anyone is barred from:
  1. Using the Grooveshark Marks in any manner in connection with the advertising, offering for sale, or sale of any service or product, not provided by or authorized by Plaintiff UMG.
  2. Committing any acts calculated to cause consumers to believe that the Counterfeit Service or any other use of the Grooveshark Marks is offered under the control and supervision of Plaintiff UMG or sponsored or approved by, or connected with, or guaranteed by, or produced under the control and supervision of Plaintiff
  3. Infringing any of the Grooveshark Marks and damaging Plaintiff goodwill;
  4. Otherwise competing unfairly with Plaintiff UMG in any manner; or
  5. Using, linking to, transferring, selling, exercising control over, or otherwise owning the domain names grooveshark.io or groovesharkpw or any other domain name that incorporates, in whole or in part, any of Grooveshark Marks (the "Infringing Domain Names").
  6. Directly or secondarily infringing Plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings via the Counterfeit Service or any variations thereof.
While I don't care what happens to Grooveshark itself or these copyrights, it seems quite disturbing that a judge can issue such a broad injunction that can impact so many third parties, potentially making them liable should someone do something that "unfairly competes with Universal Music in any manner." Part of the point of SOPA was to add these kinds of injunctions to the law but Congress did not approve SOPA. So why is the court acting like it has this power?

Again, it's easy to say "meh, no big deal, whoever set up these sites were clearly infringing" or even to attack them for setting up a fake Grooveshark. But this goes beyond that, and raises serious questions about the court's powers to order third parties to block all access to websites without full due process.





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  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 1:44pm

    Committing any acts calculated to cause consumers to believe that the Counterfeit Service or any other use of the Grooveshark Marks is offered under the control and supervision of Plaintiff UMG or sponsored or approved by, or connected with, or guaranteed by, or produced under the control and supervision of Plaintiff

    Infringing any of the Grooveshark Marks and damaging Plaintiff goodwill;

    Otherwise competing unfairly with Plaintiff UMG in any manner; or

    Directly or secondarily infringing Plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings via the Counterfeit Service or any variations thereof.
    Each of those involve specific findings of fact—especially where questions such as intent or fair use might arise—but the court is rubberstamping UMG's future allegations before they've even been made. Part of the point of having an independent court system and jury trials is supposed to be that plaintiffs do not get to judge the merits of their own cases. This order throws that out the window.

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 1:47pm

    New York. Where the law takes a back door to justice.

    Between Niketh Velamoor and Judge Nathan the Southern District of New York has some issues.


    E

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

    • icon
      M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 1:53pm

      Re: New York. Where the law takes a back door to justice.

      Eh, every district has its bad apples. We just hear about SDNY a lot because they have more assholes in their jurisdiction than most.

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

  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 1:50pm

    I'm tempted to register a domain name about "the grooveshark decision" and put my objections to it there, add Cloudflare as the CDN, then notify UMG and see if they want to suppress unambiguously protected speech.

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 10 Jul 2015 @ 1:57pm

    I should have added

    I did register groovesharkusa.com. If you would like to use it I'm happy to transfer or share :)

    Ehud
    P.S. "register" meaning just before I posted my previous note...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 3:21pm

    RIAA and MPAA etc are after the same things and this has come close to giving it to them. they want everyone else to do the policing at their own expense, just so the entertainment industries can rewrite the laws they want in the way they want. they also want domain names to be removed because the industries say so without any sort of trial or any type of defence, even not getting chance to defend themselves when accused! in other words, the entertainment industries, bit by bit are approaching the end result they have been after for decades, complete control of the internet. before anyone wants to shoot me down, or just shoot me, look back at what was said could and would never happen, starting with the changing of copying being re-classed as a criminal offence. then the site blocking, then the site removals, then the arrests, the trials, the millions in damages, the families ruined, the people bankrupted, the prison sentences and everything in between. then look at what they are in the middle of trying to get achieved now and what is actually left for them to do before they get that total control! then try to make a serious case that they are NOT striving for that control and even more so, wont get it!!
    every country is doing the same things, all of which help the industries. every country is bringing in surveillance laws regardless of what the people want or which way a vote goes. that surveillance has absolutely fuck all to do with terrorism but everything to do with governments knowing every move of every body everywhere. and who will get access to that information, just like they have been getting up to now? apart from the security forces that say they must have it, even though they couldn't find their ass if they was holding it in both hands, will be the entertainment industries, just so they can do as much damage to people as possible!!

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

  • identicon
    King of the Earth, 10 Jul 2015 @ 4:25pm

    Preliminary Injunction

    I, King of the Earth and All Its Dominions, hereby issue a preliminary injunction against all service providers barring any and all forms of secondary infringement. Any provider offering copyrighted material without prior authorization from the copyright holder shall be liable for violating this injunction, regardless of any "safe harbor" provisions in copyright law. Don't tell me I can't legislate from the bench. I am King of the Earth and can do what I want.

    It is so ordered.
    King of the Earth and All Its Dominions

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 4:39pm

    'Congress did not approve SOPA'

    since when has a little thing like that bothered the entertainment industries? you need to remember who is in charge, certainly of the MPAA! he knows all the tricks, has all the angles and knows all the roads to go down, al the strings to pull, ignoring anything he wants to, just to get, or at least try to get, what he wants. and there are so many judges who will do anything for a little bit of favored treatment!!

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 10 Jul 2015 @ 6:08pm

    Hmmm groovesharkusa.com would be a great domain name for an anti-RIAA blog hosted on Google Blogger.

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

  • identicon
    Atwas911, 14 Jul 2015 @ 7:53pm

    When are the people going to finally have enough of this nonsense and start dragging these billionaires and crooked judges out into the streets and burning them alive?

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


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