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Songwriters bite Grooveshark

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Partially licensed music site Grooveshark has now been sued by composers, including the author of Rhinestone Cowboy, Mark Weiss, for copyright infringement, CNet reports.

The Florida-based outfit has struck a curious stance, saying it doesn't need licences but has been getting them here and there – it now claims to have deals with 1,000 labels and the three US performing rights companies. But of the big four, only EMI licenses music to Grooveshark – and this doesn't include Pink Floyd, who object to having their concept albums sold piecemeal. The company is also currently dealing with litigation from Universal Music.

Grooveshark initially offered a download service which rewarded the uploader for the copyright infringement; not surprisingly this was withdrawn. It now offers on-demand streaming and playlists, through a generic iTunes-style UI, with ads supporting a free service and $6 and $9 monthly subscriptions also available.

Apple pulled the Grooveshark app from its store last year and Google gave it the boot from the Android App Store earlier this year.

Comment

It must galling for a Spotify or a Rdio to spend years and much expense (large record companies will happily swallow 110 per cent of a company’s start-ups equity) negotiating to do the right thing, only to see scofflaws plead ignorance. ®

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