Legal Drama, Music Business

Digital Copyright Lawsuit: Universal Music Group Wins Appeal Against Grooveshark


Universal Music Group GroovesharkAML People, Industry, bookmark this case. It is one of those “you need to know” cases if you are in the business of music/the music industry. For AML African digital distributor readers such as Spinlet, IROKO, PANA, IBAKA et al., you all should pay particular attention to this case.


“In a closely watched digital copyright lawsuit, a panel of five judges in the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a lower state court decision favoring Escape Media Group Inc., the operators of the music streaming site Grooveshark.


The lawsuit, filed by Universal Music Group, alleged that Grooveshark had violated copyrights laws by hosting unlicensed music from Universal’s catalog that was recorded prior to 1972.


The date is significant because recordings from 1972 and onward explicitly fell under the DMCA, which granted online service providers such as Grooveshark a “safe harbor” against copyright litigation, provided that they meet certain obligations, including a process for taking down infringing content uploaded by users.


The decision has the potential to send a number of social networks that rely on user uploaded content scrambling to scour their systems for copyrighted material recorded prior to 1972 in order to ensure compliance, including YouTube, SoundCloud and others. “The Court’s decision, if it stands, will significantly undermine the Safe Harbor protections of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and may severely disrupt the operations of all Internet Service Providers who, like Groovehark, permit access to user-generated music content,” Grooveshark’s attorney, John Rosenberg, said in a statement. “As a result, Grooveshark intends to appeal the Court’s decision and to seek legislative action on this critical issue, not only for its own interests but for the industry as a whole.””

THR, Esq. has the full story.

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
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