Earlier this year, music streaming site Grooveshark was shut down, mainly because it turns out that the law frowns on streaming music to users without actually having a legal right to any of the music on your servers. Days later, the site appeared to be back, but something didn’t seem quite right.
This new “clone” of Grooveshark was the product of an individual going by the nickname of Shark, who claimed to be a Grooveshark employee. “I started backing up all the content on the website when I started suspecting that Grooveshark’s demise is close and my suspicion was confirmed a few days later when they closed,” Shark said. “By the time they closed I have already backed up 90 percent of the content on the site and I’m now working on getting the remaining 10 percent.”
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) wasn’t happy about this, and immediately filed for an injunction to prevent ISPs from providing service to the rogue website. Like many a website looking to keep one step ahead of the law, the clone switched domains rapidly, and it eventually appeared to go offline for good. Even so, RIAA continued to pursue legal action again any current and future clones.
Yesterday RIAA won its related lawsuit. In addition to providing a permanent injunction against the owner of the site, the court order will also see the Grooveshark domain transferred to the trade group, TorrentFreak reports. Additionally, RIAA has been awarded $17 million in damages.
The hefty fee combines $150,000 per track of the 89 tracks listed as examples of infringement in the case, which totals $13,350,000. The operator of the clone was also ordered to pay $4 million for willful counterfeiting of Grooveshark trademarks and $400,000 for cybersquatting.
The likelihood that the operator of the clone sites will actually pay up seems small, as the person or persons involved were never actually identified, and seemed to disappear around the same time the sites went offline.