Grooveshark is back, and just as illegal as ever (Update)

Just days after a court-ordered shutdown last week, Grooveshark is back — sort of.

BGR reports that Grooveshark has relaunched, and while the service is as illegal as ever, it won’t go down without a fight. A former employee nicknamed Shark told BGR that he has put together a team to redevelop the site.

“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,” he explained. “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.”

Grooveshark’s initial iteration was able to exist for so long thanks to protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects user-uploaded content. However, last September a judge ruled that Grooveshark employees had personally uploaded thousands of songs without permission. Since company employees, rather than users, had uploaded the songs, Grooveshark was deemed to be guilty of copyright infringement. And the new version certainly doesn’t have any legal safeguard to protect it.

Under the terms of the court’s decision, Grooveshark was ordered to cease all operations, wipe its computer servers of all music, and surrender ownership of its website, mobile apps and intellectual property, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (via Billboard).

The new site’s creator states that he re-uploaded the site’s content, which means he is already guilty of copyright infringement.

As this new site is definitely in violation of the court’s ruling that Grooveshark cease all operations, it’s a safe bet that more legal proceedings are to come. But the team — comprised of parties uknown at this point — is ready to battle. “We have all the servers/domains infrastructure in place, it’s going to be a roller coaster and we’re ready for it,” said Shark to BGR.

What Grooveshark Was, and how it got the axe

Grooveshark was the go-to source to grab a song — any song — and listen for free in the wild west era of streaming, before more legitimate services like Spotify took over. It took six years of court battles over copyright infringement for major labels to finally shut it down.

The free music streaming site, which launched in 2006 and garnered 35 million users, entered into a settlement with Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group — the big three of the music industry. Escape Media owned Grooveshark, which was founded by Josh Greenberg and Sam Tarantino.

“We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music,” read the statement on Grooveshark’s home page last week. “But despite [the] best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service,”

As a result of its infringement, Grooveshark could have been liable for up to $736 million in damages. However, the terms of the court settlement stated that the company would not be liable for damages unless the firm violates the terms of the agreement, in which it has agreed to pay the labels $75 million.

Just what will happen to this rebellious new spawn rising from the ashes of the original Grooveshark is anybody’s guess, but it doesn’t seem likely to end well. We’ll keep an eye on this story for any updates, so stay with us.

Updated 5/5/15: After being shutdown by a lawsuit for violating copyright licensing, unknown Grooveshark employees have vowed to keep the site open


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