MANHATTAN (CN) – Online music supplier Grooveshark infringed on at least 6,000 copyrighted songs by making them available for download, a federal judge ruled.
Nine music labels representing such artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyonce, Green Day and Elton John sued the Gainesville, Fla.-based company in 2011.
Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg founded Escape Media Group, the business behind Grooveshark, in 2006 when they were freshman at the University of Florida.
The labels claimed the site provided bootleg copies of songs without permission, and allowed copyrighted recordings of songs to be downloaded without compensation at least 36 million times.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa granted the labels partial summary judgment Monday.
“Each time Escape streamed one of plaintiffs’ songs recordings, it directly infringed upon plaintiff’s exclusive performance rights,” Griesa wrote.
The site has licenses for some but not all of its music, and attracts 35 million users, Griesa noted.
Grooveshark argued that it was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects sites hosting otherwise protectable material.
But Griesa said the site’s executives illegally uploaded nearly 6,000 songs without permission, thus not qualifying for the “safe harbor” descriptions of the law.
The plaintiffs were Arista Music; Arista Records LLC, Atlanitc Recording Corp.; Elektra Entertainment Group Inc.; LaFace Records LLC; Sony Music Entertainment; UMG Recordings Inc.; Warner Bros. Records Inc.; and Zomba Recording LLC.
Griesa’s ruling comes just a week after a federal judge in Los Angeles granted summary judgment in an infringement suit that the founding members of the music group The Turtles brought against Sirius XM Radio.
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