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back to article Grooveshark bunged staff bonuses 'for pirating music'

Music streaming site Grooveshark paid employees by the amount of music they illegally uploaded to the site, filings in a lawsuit allege. Universal Music says Grooveshark's own staff submitted at least 100,000 sound recordings "to boost [owner] Escape's library of infringing content and to make the service more attractive to …

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Jail them

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Silver badge

If I recall correctly Apple were fond of the old 'Sin and beg forgiveness' in the early days of the iTunes store weren't they? Proof (if I remember true) that such a strategy can pay off, if a hell of a gamble for a non-MegaCorporation.

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Oh?

"If I recall correctly Apple were fond of the old 'Sin and beg forgiveness' in the early days of the iTunes store weren't they."

I do not believe that this is true and I do not recall *ever* reading anything that would indicate that Apple ever did anything other than follow and adhere to the law. (And I am no apple or Jobs apologist; no one could despise Jobs more than I, believe me.)

If you have some links or real information, I would be interested in seeing them.

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bloody hell

This is not going to end well for somebody.

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Who do these guys think they are?

Google!?

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no....

they think they're the CRIA

Remember, the music industry group whose members COMMERCIALLY sold music for over 20 years, in violation of copyright, but 'kept it on a list', and then settled for just $45M

(or $150/song).

I'm surprised Andrew didn't mention the similarity, or had it slipped his mind....

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Anonymous Coward

Universal Bunged Staff For......

Ripping off consumers.

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Anonymous Coward

This is sort-of what entrepeneurship is about.

Coming up with something new, take risks. By being notoriously obstinate* the established entertainment industry and their myriad rights collection agencies have effectively sidelined themselves. Reactions like this, however illegal according to the law, are only to be expected. Allofmp3 anyone? Same sort of approach. Same cause. It does turn entepreneurship into getting big enough, quick enough, even if breaking the letter of the law, then force the money collectors to acquiesce into everyone winning because of the resulting revenue.

It's all good though. The more big music lawyers die of a stroke, the better.

* I recall us trying to negotiate with whichever agency turned out to be royalty reaper for "internet streaming", who instead of fostering a new thing, in the absence of a clue what the licencing should be decided to demand something on the order of an executive's salary for a couple hours hobbyist streaming per week, full well knowing that we were a no-budget student outfit. A decade or so later I read in the news they settled after a public row with a commercial FM radio station about the broadcaster's "we also stream stuff on our website" thing. You really need considerable market power to hit them over the head with before thinking of talking to them; they just won't talk without someone twisting someone's arm. Just be damn sure it's not them doing the armtwisting.

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FAIL

Not really, actually.

Read the exchange between Robert Fripp and Grooveshark. There's no "rights collection agency" here, it's the guy that created the content explicitly telling the guy distributing it that he didn't have permission to do so.

Incredible though it may seem you being a student, an entrepreneur, broke, a hobbyist, a fan or otherwise doesn't give you an automatic right to use other people's creative output against their wishes. Nick it if you must, but don't try to sugar coat it.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, yeah.

That's pretty nasty, agreed. But it's small fry in the story, really. On a pedantic note, Fripp might not actually own any rights to his own music, depending on just how his contract(s) with his publisher(s) are put together, meaning that he technically might not be in a position to demand removal. I have no idea what the details are, and frankly it doesn't matter. Though possibly explainable through shoddy procedures (large influx of unchecked music, no blacklist, possibly result of growing too fast in too little time--note I said explainable, not excusable) seeing the music pop back in after removal is aggravating to say the least.

And there's no question it's not legal and there's also no question it's highly, well let's creatively euphemise here and say "morally ambiguous". The only reason why I'm not slamming it outright is because of who grooveshark is doing it to, in casu big music.

The point I was trying to make is not about Fripp or any other artist understandably upset at grooveshark, but how they explicitly take on big music by trying to essentially swindling the swindlers; just take the music, get big quick enough to become too big to ignore, then sell the added value big music is so hell-bent on preventing back to them again.

Let's not forget that big music is not at all about innovating. Small music maybe, but big music sends in the lawyers first (including when signing new acts, read up on how that happens), and needs a good solid clobbering to finally start to see they're hopelessly behind the times. And then they lobby for international atrocities like ACTA. *sigh*

You're quite right on the individual artist level. But I was thinking a mite bigger.

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Anonymous Coward

Virgin/EMI did much worse with Fripp's material

Like licensing it for sale on iTunes and OD2 when they had no right to.

"In lodging complaints with Virgin/EMI’s legal dept., we have become used to the impression that our requests for the copyrights to be respected are regarded as something of an irritant. Such requests have only been made necessary by Virgin/EMI’s continued failure to police rights offered by Virgin/EMI, rights that were never Virgin/EMI’s to offer at any point. Despite repeated requests to the legal department & assurances that the matter would be dealt with, no accounting or royalties as a result of these digital sales has ever been received."

http://www.dgmlive.com/diaries.htm?entry=4879

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Shucks

And here my favorite mobile music app is TinyShark, which seems to trick Grooveshark into thinking your phone is a desktop PC so that you can play all *their* stuff for free.

This is a black day.

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Pirate

Not asking permission

So basically, Grooveshark are using the same business model as the MAFIAA:

'Essentially, record companies no longer had to get a compulsory license every time they wanted to use a song for, say, a compilation album. Instead, they went ahead and used the song without waiting for authorization or making payment, adding the song to a list of music that is pending authorization and payment. If you're questioning whether you read that right, that basically means the record industries could use songs as long as they pinky swore they would get authorization and pay the artist for it eventually." - http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/12/artists-lawsuit-major-record-labels-are-the-real-pirates.ars

Maybe Grooveshark can simply create a 'pending list' and bung everything they upload onto that, with a promise to pay the poor, struggling execs later... oh, wait...

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after reading...

A fair portion of the complaint AND (the best part in my opinion) some of the comments, from where the story broke, Escape, it's officers and majority investors better pray that someone in their "crack legal team" manages to settle out of court. If not, they're screwed.

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Anonymous Coward

Ballsy, innit?

That is, in fact, the entire business model: Get big quick, bank on having something to sell the rights holders back, hope that's more than the dues owed them. It's incredibly risky, but given how the rights holders are acting (which is not entirely rational by the looks of it) there's very little alternative to break into that market. It puts the shark in GrooveShark.

We really do need shorter copyright times. How's "lifetime of the creator or 20 years, whichever is longer" sound?

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Coat

you know son?

The funny thing about regret is ... it's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't.

And by the way, if you happen to meet your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her ...

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: you know son?

Well done, you've got that track stuck in my head now.

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"We bet the company on the fact that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission."

Good for them. My business functions on the same principle - I steal the lead off church roofs. It's even easier to ask for forgiveness 'cos if they don't oblige their god will send them to hell.

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