Copy-shop Grooveshark's prospects in the latest round of its lawsuit are looking bleak: remarks made by the judge hearing the case have opened up the possibility of damages close to three quarters of a billion dollars against the song-share site.
Ahead of this week's hearing, the presiding judge told jurors that Grooveshark's actions were “wilful” and made “in bad faith”.
Grooveshark has been trying to fight off accusations about its alleged copyright infringement, on the basis that copying is the responsibility of users who share audio content on the site. That defence, however, was undermined in 2014 when it emerged that executives had boosted its catalogue as a start-up, by uploading content themselves and encouraging staff to do so.
In the court order made late last week, judge Griesa told jurors that they were free to award damages all the way up to US$150,000 per song against the company, which would take the total possible damages against Grooveshark's parent, Escape Media Group, to an eye-watering US$736 million.
The judge did offer one ray of hope, saying that Escape Media will be allowed to present evidence that it tried unsuccessfully to secure licenses from the music industry.
The nine plaintiffs include Arista Music, Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, and Warner Bros Records. ®