Feeds

Grooveshark bunged staff bonuses 'for pirating music'

Universal Music accuses streaming site in court docs

New hybrid storage solutions

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 prospective users".

Rival streaming sites, such as Spotify and Rdio, waited until they had licences before launching - but Grooveshark's strategy was shoot first and talk later. Grooveshark claims that the DMCA means it doesn't need licences - but evidence submitted in an ongoing infringement lawsuit filed by Universal Music suggests it knew exactly what it was doing.

Now we know, too, as the testimony is now public. In one eyebrow-raising email, Grooveshark investor Sina Simantob, who is CEO of Highland Wealth Services and executive chairman of Escape Media which operates Grooveshark, wrote: "We bet the company on the fact that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission."

Simantob added: "I think these guys [Universal Music] have a real chance to settle with MG within a year and by that time they'll be up to 35m uniques and a force to be dealt with."

It's hard to imagine a more effective way of sending a record label lawyer ballistic with rage. Except than with this next bit testimony, perhaps. One employee explained that staff were given a weekly quota of unlicensed music to upload and "a small extra bonus if we manage to go above that".

"Are the above legal or ethical? Of course not ... If the labels or their lawyers can't figure out how to stop it, then I don't feel bad for having a job. It's tough times."

King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp wrote to Grooveshark asking them to remove his music - only to see it reappear again overnight.

Simantob even explained Grooveshark's strategy of avoiding the legal negotiations services such as Spotify undertook:

We use a label's songs until till we get 100m uniques [sic], by which time we can tell the labels who is listening to their music, and then turn around and charge them for the very data we got from them, ensuring that what we may them in total for streaming is less than what they pay us for data-mining.

"Let's keep this quite [sic] for as long as we can," he added.

On its site Grooveshark claims to have licences with 1,000 labels: "We work tirelessly to secure the rights to every sound recording ever created in hopes of guaranteeing that our users can access the songs they love and discover new music previously unavailable on other services."

It brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.