As the streaming wars race towards their inevitable Google vs. Apple conclusion, there's one service that has proved peskily hard to kill: Grooveshark.
The OG streaming site operated left of the law for years before its countless copyrighted files that populated the site based on user submissions. But it didn't take long after the site was crushed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) this past May for somebody to create a clone. Then, when the music industry filed an injunction, it just hopped around from domain to domain and turned the proceedings into a futile game of whack-a-mole.
Maybe finally learning its lesson from the Pandora's Box of piracy that was Napster, the RIAA has taken it hard to court. After they ignored the RIAA's injunction, it has now been struck down with a $17 million settlement. That's $13 million in piracy damages (the maximum $150,000 penalty for the 89 songs cited in the complaint), plus an added "willful counterfeiting of two Grooveshark marks and another $400,000 for cybersquatting" and trying to cash in on Grooveshark-related domains." Yes, they're being forced to pay for ripping off a piracy site.
But it's hard to demand money from somebody who doesn't exist. The defendant never showed up in court and, so far at least, is unknown to the RIAA and the justice system. The number may be high, but more than retribution it's likely a "stay the hell away if you know what's good for you" warning. So if you're refreshing Grooveshark.ie, Grooveshark.org and Grooveshark.ca, maybe stop now.
But hey, Napster is back.