Grooveshark has had more than its share of legal problems, but is looking to put them in the past with new app.
Many believe that Grooveshark was finished earlier this year when a U.S. district Court judge ruled that Groovshark’s employees personally participated and profited from copyright infringement. While Grooveshark attempted to use the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the judge, Thomas Griesa, nixed that notion in an October ruling. Grooveshark’s employees uploaded 5,977 songs without necessary rights after co-founder Joshua Greenberg sent the following email to employees demanding they break copyright law.
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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.
Waiting for judgement, appeal(?)
This is still hanging over Grooveshark’s head like the sword of Damocles, but while waiting for a judgement in the case, Grooveshark announced a new service that would legally look to challenge the likes of Pandora.
A spokesman for Grooveshark said the company is launching its “first compliant app,” for iOS and Android of 2015. The digital radio service will cost $0.99 and be commercial free. Pandora offers a free streaming app but it is supported by advertisers. Groovesharke presently has around 30 million users while Pandora claims around 80 million.
The app will allow users to stream user created radio stations and chat by text with other users, something Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino is calling on to “change the ballgame.” Grooveshark will not have to negotiate with the record labels that are still hoping to destroy the company, rather the company is paying government-mandated royalties like Pandora already does.
Excuses, excuses, excuses
“We’re trying to show that we’re doing everything we possibly can to be a legitimate player here,” said Mr. Tarantino. Grooveshark’s prior apps have been removed from both the App Store and the Android Play Store but Broadcasts is expected to be offered in both.
Speaking of the company’s checkered dealings in the past Mr. Tarantino said, “It was a catch-22—you need money to gain licenses, and you need licenses to gain money,” adding that the record labels then told Grooveshark to “build something and come back to us.”
At $0.99 per month, it’s quite possible that Grooveshark will find a sizable revenue stream, one that they will likely cough up in the future when a penalty is enforced for its early lawbreaking.