Beleaguered music service Grooveshark is facing its biggest threat yet after a long-running case with the major labels of the RIAA came to a close last evening.
In a ruling by United States District Judge Thomas P. Griesa in the United States District Court in Manhattan, Grooveshark parent company Escape Media and two of the company’s top executives were found liable for infringing the rights of the labels on a grand scale.
The summary judgment is not a pretty read. It summarizes Grooveshark’s history and how the service began with licensed aims in mind, but achieved that by infringing the labels’ rights in the hope of reaching deals later on.
The initial problem was obtaining content to offer to users. The company solved the issue by getting employees to “seed” music to other users via its own P2P sharing software known as Sharkbyte. A 2007 email from co-founder Josh Greenberg to employees reads:
Please share as much music as possible from outside the office, and leave your computers on whenever you can. This initial content is what will help to get our network started—it’s very important that we all help out! If you have available hard drive space on your computer, I strongly encourage you to fill it with any music you can find. Download as many MP3’s as possible, and add them to the folders you’re sharing on Grooveshark. Some of us are setting up special “seed points” to house tens or even hundreds of thousands of files, but we can’t do this alone… There is no reason why ANYONE in the company should not be able to do this, and I expect everyone to have this done by Monday… IF I DON’T HAVE AN EMAIL FROM YOU IN MY INBOX BY MONDAY, YOU’RE ON MY OFFICIAL SHIT LIST.
In 2007, music obtained via
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