Feeds

Grooveshark croaks in Germany

Blames royalty shakedown, but collection society says they never called...

Top three mobile application threats

Controversial streaming site Grooveshark has pulled out of the German market, blaming royalty demands from collection society GEMA. But GEMA says the reason offered is false – and no negotiations ever took place, Billboard reports.

GEMA has played hardball on behalf of its members with overseas music services, prompting Google to take YouTube videos offline three years ago.

But societies like GEMA find themselves between a rock and a hard place... The organisations are a little like trade unions: they’re member-owned, and are negotiating collectively on behalf of their members. If the society negotiates away the music too cheaply, the members are entitled to wander off and find another negotiator – or negotiate their own.

Tense negotiations in Elbonia
© Scott Adams

That’s what’s happened to digital music publishing rights in Europe. Publishing is one area of the music industry that’s healthy – it even grew in 2011. But the rights are now very, very fragmented. The majors have withdrawn their digital rights from the collecting societies; Europe is determined to make national societies ‘compete’ – rejecting their own ‘one-stop shop’ proposal known as the Santiago Agreement. Publishers and composers are justifiably anxious about the prospect of a race to the bottom. Imagine if the lowest royalty rate in Europe was offered by Elbonia – which only pays songwriters in mud.

Of course negotiations are something that never bothered Grooveshark, which notoriously launched first, and asked permissions later. A lawsuit filed by Universal in November last year alleges that the startup had a staff incentive programme that rewarded them for as much music as their staff could upload. None of which had a licence.

Grooveshark denies the allegation, and points out it was made in anonymous comment to trade site Digital Music News. It has subpoenaed DMN to find out the identity of the commentard.

You wouldn’t think Universal Music would base a key part of their case on an anonymous comment, would you? It shouldn't have to. Universal's director of digital business, Olly Barnes, was formerly SVP of European operations for Grooveshark. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.