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More Major Label Vs. Startup: EMI Sues Grooveshark

LONDON (Hypebot) –
Grooveshark has become the latest music startup to be sued by EMI. Under the motto "Millions Of Songs. Find Yours", Grooveshark
combs a database of 6 million songs spread across the internet for quick and easy playback.

But like Seeqpod and others who have tried to offer music online without first cutting difficult and expensive deals with the major labels, it inevitably has come under fire. Grooveshark says that it had been trying to make deals for a 50/50 as revenue split, but to date no majors had signed on. The full text of a statement on the lawsuit from Grooveshark via Media Memo.

Hypebot briefing: Playable search engines like Grooveshark host no music, but rather grab it for play Google-like from across the web. Downloading is not enabled and unlike after a Google search, the location of the song files are never revealed. So why can't the industry offer blanket licenses that monetize these sites instead of enriching lawyers? The alternative is an endless game of global whack-a-mole.

From Grooveshark:

For the past year, Grooveshark has been in talks with EMI Records and other copyright holders to negotiate licensing agreements for the use of their content. We are pleased to announce that over the past few months Grooveshark successfully concluded mutually beneficial agreements with many artists, labels, and publishers that we hope to be a template for other such agreements with additional copyright holders.

Recently, EMI Records chose to abandon the template we’ve built with the help of other major copyright holders and opted for their traditional intimidation tactic of filing a lawsuit as a negotiating tool. We find the use of this negotiating strategy counterproductive, as Grooveshark has been willing to conclude an agreement with EMI Records that is economically sustainable for both EMI Records and a start-up company the size of Grooveshark.

Grooveshark is run by a group of young and passionate musicians. We love music, we make music, and we believe that the use of all music should be paid for. We adopted this core philosophy at our inception and to date have concluded agreements with hundreds of record labels, major US performance rights organizations, and thousands of independent artists who support Grooveshark’s business model. (See: Grooveshark Artists)

As musicians, we support the rights of copyright holders and strive to sign sustainable agreements with all content owners, ensuring that all artists get paid– or we agree to remove content from our system in accordance with our DMCA Takedown Policy. We hope that EMI Records eventually follows the lead of the many forward-thinking labels we are already working with, who would rather get their artists exposure and a fair share of our revenue than block content access and force customers to illegal networks.
We understand that the economy of the digital music business is in a state of flux, and we hope to help ease this transition by providing the required new tools and services that lead to the next generation of the music industry. We respect the ownership rights of the major labels and publishers, and our core mission has always been to compete with piracy by offering a service that is genuinely better than what illegal networks offer, while also ensuring fair payment to copyright holders. Our next important step on our road to success is to conclude a mutually beneficial agreement with EMI Records that is sustainable for both EMI and Grooveshark.