With over thirty million users and almost ten years under its belt, the music sharing website, Grooveshark, has finally closed its doors. The company, which is owned by Escape Media, was served back in 2011 with a $17 billion dollar lawsuit for copyright infringement against Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. The site, which did not acquire the licenses needed from the necessary right’s holders for close to five thousand songs, managed to run for another four years before the suit was settled and the website, was forced to shut down. In a public apology “That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation,” posted on Grooveshark’s homepage, the website admits its faults and even directs users to other legal music sharing services. “If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders. You can find out more about the many great services available where you live here.”
The statement also claims that aside from surrendering their site to the RIAA, Grooveshark must wipe all the data on their servers, and hand over their mobile apps, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property. Though it is not mentioned in Grooveshark’s statement, they may also have to pay over $700 million in damages to the record labels whose copyrights it violated.
Grooveshark’s suit is just one of the many ways that the RIAA is trying to nip free music services in the bud. In 2003 the RIAA sued two hundred and sixty-one people, including twelve year old New Yorker, Brianna LaHara. Between 2003 and 2008, the RIAA sued somewhere between eighteen thousand to thirty-five thousand people including a Vietnam veteran, Larry Scantlebury, who died sometime during the lawsuit forcing his family to pay the charges; a homeless man named Chaz Berry, and eighty-three year old Gertrude Walton who had actually died a year before the alleged illegal downloads took place. The Recording Industry Association of America also filed a suit against peer-to-peer file sharing company Napster, Swedish based company The Pirate Bay, and XM Satellite Radio. Aside from these various suits, which cost the RIAA over $17 million in legal fees, in 2008 the RIAA also decided to make an agreement with several ISPs “to cut off subscribers’ internet connections if they ignore warnings to stop.”
FDRMX Eyes: Pacovolume is a French Indie Rock artist from Paris. Check out his video “Cookie Machine.”