How does a profitable company distribute illegal copies of music? Well one company call GroveShark has managed to provide illegal downloads and streaming for nearly five years.
I know most people don’t really care too much for the major record labels that are being ripped off directly by GroveShark, but at the end of the line this hurts artists too.
A few modern bands have encouraged fans to share their music, to get their music heard by people that might not have otherwise heard it... this is fine and all but they must feel differently when a company is holding copies of their music illegally on high powered media servers and making money from advertising and premium subscriptions.
GroveShark shares/sells music downloads legal and illegal under the banner that they are going to pay royalties to the record companies, however to date this hasn’t happened. EMI is currently suing GrooveShark for not paying royalties due and not taking down specified copyrighted material. (1 Time)
Many users that have download songs for free on GrooveSharks website have moved over to a third party applications like GrooveDown (2) that allows you to download massive amounts of songs from GroveSharks massive database quicker than you can using GrooveSharks own software, and making piracy even quicker.
Now GrooveDown isn’t doing anything illegal, as they are not serving any of the music files they are simply making it quicker to access GrooveSharks collection of media that is served over regular unencrypted protocols.
So how it is that such a company can still exist? GroveShark has been hiding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that says that copyrighted material on a website must be removed after a DMCA takedown notice has been served, which GrooveShark apparently complies with. However... if you look in their collection of material, they haven’t removed jack squat. Soon after a song has been taken down, it is uploaded by GroveShark staff and listed again (2 CNet).
It’s amazing how GrooveShark is still around given that a company like MegaUpload.com was seized by the Govt. with no notice. MegaUpload was tiny problem in comparison to the GrooveShark network; it’s one of those times you really want to see the powers to be intervening, and playing fair. To add to the insult, GrooveShark has over 100 full time employees. Piracy is a big business.