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News October 27, 2015

Grooveshark engaged in “willful” copyright infringement, judge rules

Former Editor
Grooveshark engaged in “willful” copyright infringement, judge rules

Universal Music Group’s trial with Grooveshark resumes in New York today marking the lawsuit-embroiled streaming service’s biggest challenge yet.

The court date follows the judge’s ruling last week that Grooveshark’s parent company Escape Media is liable for up to$736 million in damages, which realistically, could mark the end of the service’s operations.

New York District Court Judge Thomas P. Griesaordered that Grooveshark founders Sam Tarantino and Josh Greenberg could be liable for statutory damages relating to 2,963 recordings uploaded by Grooveshark employees and a further 1,944 ‘inferred uploads’, where Grooveshark were caught deleting upload data.

Today, the jury will be told that the minimum statutorydamage is $150,000 per infringed work. Normally UMG would only be permitted to press for $750 to $1,500 per infringement, but in this case the infringements were “wilful”. This means Escape Media face the maximum total damages of $736,050,000 for the infringement of 4,907 tracks.

In Court Judge Thomas P. Griesa’s summary decision, he said: "Escape was directly liable for the infringing uploads of its employees, because the record included uncontroverted evidence that defendants instructed their employees to upload copyright protected music onto Grooveshark.

“The court also found that defendants Tarantino and Greenberg-the co-founders of Grooveshark-were jointly and severally liable for Escape's infringement, and were also liable for direct infringement based on their own infringing uploads."

While an outcome which leaves Grooveshark in a position to continue operations looks unlikely, UMG is expecting Grooveshark to call on the argument that any pre-1972 recordings should not be considered as they are not covered by copyright law in the US.

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