What can we expect from Grooveshark’s streaming music service? Its mobile app was removed from Apple’s store last year and Google removed Grooveshark’s app from its android market in early April. Apple and Google may have felt pressure from record companies such as EMI and Universal, which both have sued Grooveshark. EMI dismissed its suit after agreeing to a license, while Universal is still fighting its suit. Grooveshark has released an open letter encouraging Apple and Google to reinstate its products, arguing there is nothing illegal about its offerings.
Grooveshark allows users to stream any song in its catalog on-demand and save them onto playlists without paying a cent, infuriating record companies with these uploads without a distribution deal. Record companies argue this process infringes on copyrights. Grooveshark says that it fully complies with the DMCA, which requires it to remove content upon being notified by a copyright holder; it says it has taken down 1.76 million tracks and suspended 22,274 users who abused the system.
But can users freely upload content? Grooveshark has pushed for record labels to offer its users a blanket license, which would allow companies such as Universal to profit, too. Universal is likely arguing the blanket license offers insufficient compensation and that Grooveshark is inducing infringement through its overall design.
YouTube’s win over Viacom in June, 2010, was huge for Grooveshark, as both rely on DMCA protection over express permission from the labels.