UMG Goes After Golden Oldies Pirate

     MANHATTAN (CN) - UMG Recordings claims an Internet site is ripping it off by distributing Golden Oldie music from UMG's catalogue for free, and using the mass copyright violations to attract advertising dollars to its site. UMG seeks punitive damages from Escape Media Group, which does business as Grooveshark.com.
     UMG claims Grooveshark violates copyright by providing "free access to UMG's pre-1972 recordings," which includes " some of the most popular and successful recording artists of the 20th Century," including Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Cat Stevens, the Jackson Five and the Who.
     It claims that Grooveshark "uses the lure of free access" to increase traffic on its Web site, which in turn drives its advertising dollars.
     According to the complaint in New York County Court, Grooveshark stores UMG's "copyrighted sound recordings on its own servers ... and then distribute(es) copies of those recordings to the users."
     Grooveshark not only refuses to pay UMG a license fee, it has even "boasted" about targeting "the very segment of users that are bringing the labels to their knees with illegal downloading," according to the complaint.
     UMG wants an accounting, an injunction and punitive damages for unfair competition and copyright violations. It is represented by Andrew Bart with Jenner & Block.