A long-running legal battle between a music service and the three major record companies has led the former to throw in the towel.
Grooveshark, based in Gainesville, Florida, was a music streaming service that allowed its users to upload music files, which could be streamed by any visitor. This presented copyright infringement issues, prompting Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group to sue Grooveshark’s parent company, Escape Media.
Universal-owned imprint EMI alone discovered 2,807 of its sound recordings on Grooveshark, an estimated $420 million worth of damages, according to Billboard.
“Grooveshark founders Josh Greenberg and Sam Tarantino admit to creating and operating an infringing music service,” the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) statement said.
As the latest trial begins, Grooveshark faces as much as $736 million in statutory damages.
Visitors to Grooveshark’s website now will find only a letter apologizing to its users and encouraging them to purchase music legally:
“We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. We apologize. Without reservation,” it reads. “…We have agreed to cease operations immediately, wipe clean all of the record companies’ copyrighted works, and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps, and intellectual property.”
“If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters, and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders.”