Universal Targets Grooveshark Execs in Copyright Lawsuit

Nov 22, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Universal Music Group has alleged that Grooveshark execs are liable for posting copyrighted songs to the music sharing site.

Vivendi, the parent company of major record label Universal Music Group, recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against executives of the music sharing website Grooveshark, alleging the execs illegally posted thousands of protected songs to the site.

Universal's complaint contends that high-level employees of Grooveshark posted at least 113,777 of Universal's copyrighted tracks to the website, according to Billboard. Among those named in the suit are Grooveshark CEO Samuel Tarantino, who according to Universal posted at least 1,791 offending files, and Paul Geller, vice president of external affairs, who Universal says posted 3,453 protected tracks.

Grooveshark has previously faced lawsuits related to users posting copyrighted music to the site, and has successfully argued that it is not liable for users' infringement under the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, the DMCA does not protect a company whose own employees are violating copyright law, CNET reported.

Universal is seeking maximum allowable damages of $150,000 per track and a permanent injunction, which would effectively shut down Grooveshark.

A Grooveshark spokesperson said in an email that the company is confident it will be vindicated in court, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Universal recently acquired the recorded music assets of another major label, EMI, in a $1.9 billion deal.