Grooveshark Timeline Legal

EMI sue Grooveshark

By | Published on Friday 19 June 2009

According to Digital Music News, EMI has begun legal proceedings against another of those combined search engine and music player services, this time Grooveshark.

Grooveshark lets people search for music files on the internet, and then play and playlist any music files found through a bespoke player, and share those playlists with others. The problem is that much of the content the search engine bit of the operation locates is unlicensed. That makes Grooveshark, like another big player in this area, Seeqpod, liable to copyright infringement litigation, though they, like Seeqpod and others, will argue that they are just a sophisticated search engine, that they don’t host any infringing content themselves, and therefore are protected from liability under US copyright law.

Grooveshark is, however, in talks with the majors about getting licences for their service. EMI’s lawsuit, it seems, follows a break down in talks between the search service and the London-based major. A spokesman for the shark said: “Recently, EMI Records chose to abandon the template we’ve built with the help of other major copyright holders and opted for their traditional intimidation tactic of filing a lawsuit as a negotiating tool. We find the use of this negotiating strategy counterproductive, as Grooveshark has been willing to conclude an agreement with EMI Records that is economically sustainable for both EMI Records and a start-up company the size of Grooveshark”.

In related news, Seeqpod is now selling its URL, again according to Digital Music News. Apparently they want $125,000 for it. As previously reported, the Seeqpod company applied for bankruptcy protection earlier this year amid legal action against them from both Warner and EMI. The website subsequently went offline. The service’s CEO, Kasian Frank, insists a major acquisition of his company is still in the pipeline, which would enable the company to do licensing deals with the majors and get their service back online, this time with legitimacy. There had been rumours Microsoft were interested in buying the firm, though probably for its code rather than its brand or the specific search and play service it offered.

Either way, the fact they are now selling their domain name suggests that Seeqpod will not return in any real form.