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Grooveshark In Midst of Gigantic Lawsuit

Posted by: Thomas Nassiff (01/18/12)
The Gainesville, Fla.-based digital music service Grooveshark has been in the midst of an enormous lawsuit with major record company EMI Group, Ltd. since late last year/early this year. The lawsuit originated when this expose appeared on Digital Music News, about an artist unable to get his music removed from Grooveshark; and Universal Music/EMI sought legal action after reading what an anonymous commenter, claiming to be an employee of Grooveshark, had to say about the situation. In short, the highlights of the supposed Grooveshark employee's statement include: "...Are the above legal, or ethical? Of course not. ... And, to confirm the fears of the members of King Crimson, there is no way in hell you can get your stuff down." In the latest development of the story, Grooveshark has subpoenaed Digital Music News in an attempt to get the website to reveal the identity of the whistleblower.

Here's our question to you: Should message boards or websites that host responses to their articles, much like AP.net or Digital Music News, be held liable in a court trial to reveal the identities of anonymous posters? What should Digital Music News do in this situation? It doesn't seem as if they're backing down, and there are laws in place to protect journalists from revealing whistle-blowing sources. Let a legal discussion rage in the replies.
      
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 28
06:59 AM on 01/18/12
#2
Chris Collum
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Wow, good shit here Thomas. Not sure what I think about this, gotta look into it more.
07:04 AM on 01/18/12
#3
Holly HoX!
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No. Jason has mentioned that the site is not responsible for leaked albums that get posted in the forums. You'll have to remove them if asked though.
07:09 AM on 01/18/12
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COREhorizon
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This is dumb. It's not like you can download music from Grooveshark anyway.
07:13 AM on 01/18/12
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Thomas Nassiff
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This is dumb. It's not like you can download music from Grooveshark anyway.
Yeah but Grooveshark enters into a licensing agreement with the labels that provide it with music. Without the licensing, everything on Grooveshark would be illegal streaming. If the company isn't abiding by the laws outlined in its licenses with EMI or with other labels, it's obviously going to be at fault. For EMI and Universal, these licenses – not just with Grooveshark, but with Spotify, Rdio, etc – are a pretty important thing considering what year we're in and how people consume music. It's not dumb in the slightest, it's a huge issue in today's music business.
07:14 AM on 01/18/12
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perceptrons
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No they shouldn't have to reveal the source.
07:15 AM on 01/18/12
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Thomas Nassiff
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No. Jason has mentioned that the site is not responsible for leaked albums that get posted in the forums. You'll have to remove them if asked though.
I agree – the website should not be responsible and in my opinion DNM should not have to reveal the anonymous source. But I think it will be interesting to see how the court trial goes, especially since it's worth so much money and with digital copyright law, the types of licenses that labels enter with these digital music providers, etc, it really is something of new legal ground. It will be interesting to see if they're forced to reveal the commenter or now.
07:18 AM on 01/18/12
#8
Thomas Nassiff
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I live in Gainesville – I have a lot of friends who intern or work for Grooveshark, and the company hires a lot of outside employees as well, like people who cater their lunches, blah blah lots of things. It's a pretty big local impact if the whole company goes under. Lots of people will lose their jobs here. But at the same time, it's obvious – if everything in that comment is true – that Grooveshark is in the wrong.
07:23 AM on 01/18/12
#9
B.Leibo
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This would be posted on SOPA blackout day, but no,... general discussions like this are open forums. This is like if someone said .. LAW 'X' should be legal... they're not saying they broke that law... just that in their opinion they think it should be legal - he did nothing wrong - just stated his opinion. Sure he probably didn't go about it the right way... but he should legally be protected under the first amendment
07:29 AM on 01/18/12
Holly HoX!
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I agree *the website should not be responsible and in my opinion DNM should not have to reveal the anonymous source. But I think it will be interesting to see how the court trial goes, especially since it's worth so much money and with digital copyright law, the types of licenses that labels enter with these digital music providers, etc, it really is something of new legal ground. It will be interesting to see if they're forced to reveal the commenter or now.

I mean, I had always thought that that was the point of anonymous comments - they are allowed to remain anonymous. I think there is already legal precedent protecting the site and the commentator - aside from any wrong doings dealing with the music on the site. Idk though, this is interesting to say the least.
07:32 AM on 01/18/12
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Is GrooveShark in talks with the major labels yet? I don't understand why they wouldn't try to monetize their service and follow the same pay model as Spotify and Rdio. It's basically the same thing...

From a journalistic standpoint, I think "Anonymous" sources are pretty bogus. There's no way to discern credibility from a nameless source - and I think in this case, Digital Music News should be pressed to release the identity of the poster.

...we all grew up with the internet being this place of total disguise. I think eventually that has to end. Message boards might end up being a troll-free environment someday - and forums for real discussion. Imagine that!
07:40 AM on 01/18/12
MJSchmidt
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Very interesting case. Just out of curiosity, how big of a company is Grooveshark? Employees and or revenue?
07:52 AM on 01/18/12
zachff
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Is GrooveShark in talks with the major labels yet? I don't understand why they wouldn't try to monetize their service and follow the same pay model as Spotify and Rdio. It's basically the same thing...

From a journalistic standpoint, I think "Anonymous" sources are pretty bogus. There's no way to discern credibility from a nameless source - and I think in this case, Digital Music News should be pressed to release the identity of the poster.

...we all grew up with the internet being this place of total disguise. I think eventually that has to end. Message boards might end up being a troll-free environment someday - and forums for real discussion. Imagine that!
The problem with the last part of your statement is that if that's the case, there are plenty of people who would go silent for fear of repercussions. Imagine the anonymous poster detailing civil rights abuse now having to share their identity, and so on...
07:54 AM on 01/18/12
Thomas Nassiff
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Very interesting case. Just out of curiosity, how big of a company is Grooveshark? Employees and or revenue?
Over 10 million users.
07:56 AM on 01/18/12
Thomas Nassiff
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Is GrooveShark in talks with the major labels yet? I don't understand why they wouldn't try to monetize their service and follow the same pay model as Spotify and Rdio. It's basically the same thing...

From a journalistic standpoint, I think "Anonymous" sources are pretty bogus. There's no way to discern credibility from a nameless source - and I think in this case, Digital Music News should be pressed to release the identity of the poster.

...we all grew up with the internet being this place of total disguise. I think eventually that has to end. Message boards might end up being a troll-free environment someday - and forums for real discussion. Imagine that!
....and the government can make us reveal ourselves, and the president can delete my news posts, and......
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