Grooveshark is a music streaming service used by a lot of people, I was a subscriber for awhile, and like all streaming services made sure that they had a mobile presence on what is now the most popular mobile platform – Android.
That was until Google pulled the Grooveshark app from the Android marketplace on April 1, 2011 for supposed violation of the marketplace Terms of Service.
Today Grooveshark has shot back via a public statement posted at Digital Music News where they laid down the gauntlet to the music industry and the attempt to paint Grooveshark as a company offering illegal services to its subscribers.
Yet some are confused as to how we are legal. First, there is a distinction between legal and licensed. Laws come from Congress. Licenses come from businesses. Grooveshark is completely legal because we comply with the laws passed by Congress, but we are not licensed by every label (yet). We are a technology company, and we operate within the boundaries of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). Some would have you believe that those of us who use the DMCA to innovate are inherently infringers and that claiming Safe Harbor under the DMCA is as good as admitting guilt. Not so.
In addition to making the distinction regarding laws and licenses Grooveshark points out that they have, and continue to comply with every single take down notice as filed under DCMA. As well Grooveshark makes every effort to expand its base of licensed content.
With that said, Grooveshark doesn’t just rely on the protection of the law. We have worldwide licensing from over a thousand labels — large and small. We pay the three major U.S. performing rights organizations, as well as some international bodies, and are actively pursuing agreements with those that we don’t. We recently signed Merlin, which included the Merge catalog. This was a particularly happy day for us because it brought The Arcade Fire into the family. We pay for our streams, and we actively negotiate with virtually every single content owner. We’ve taken down over 1.76 million files and suspended upload privileges to 22,274 users. These are not the characteristics of a company “dedicated to copyright infringement”. As we work with artists and labels to make more content available to our users, Grooveshark becomes more competitive as an alternative to piracy.
So the question still remains – what wrong has Grooveshark done that breaks Google’s ambiguous Terms of Service?
quote image via Digital Music News