EMI Music has won a summary judgement against Grooveshark’s parent company on charges that the streaming platform infringed on its copyrights. There is a court date set for May 8 to determine the final damages, but they could end up being as high as $420 million for the 2,807 copyrighted tracks EMI found on the streaming service.
Grooveshark’s defense claimed that it was protected by the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects against infringement charges if the site responds quickly to takedown notices and meets other criteria. U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan ruled that it did not meet the eligibility requirements to warrant that protection.
The company will be able to appeal that decision, but it’s not the first time a judge has determined that Grooveshark doesn’t merit safe harbor provisions. It has been in and out of court with EMI alone since 2009, and EMI isn’t the only one filing suits. Every time Grooveshark goes back into court, industry leaders ask if this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may not be this one, but Grooveshark’s future still isn’t looking too bright.