Universal Music Sues Music Streaming Service for 100,000 Illegal Uploads

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Grooveshark

Spotify may be about to lose one of its most high-profile competitors, thanks to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed at the end of last week. Grooveshark, the streaming music service that recently relaunched itself with a new site, has been hit by a suit brought by Universal Music Group, which claims that the company has uploaded more than 100,000 songs without permission.

What’s unusual for this type of lawsuit, is that the UMG filing goes as far as naming those it suspects of illegally uploading material, including accusing Grooveshark CEO Samuel Tarantino of personally uploading at least 1,791 songs without permission. UMG is seeking maximum damages of up to $150,000 per infringement from Grooveshark, which could mean more than a $15 billion payout if the lawsuit is successful.

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This isn’t the first time that Grooveshark has found itself facing allegations around issues of copyright; not only has UMG previously sued the company’s owner, Escape Media Group, for releasing access to the label’s pre-1972 catalog, but a group of Danish rights-holders filed sued against the company earlier this year, and Google pulled the company’s app from the Android market earlier this year over copyright worries.

The UMG lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against Grooveshark, which could result in the service being forced to permanently shut down. The company’s VP of external affairs, Paul Geller, told CNET that the company hadn’t seen the complaint yet and would refrain from comment until it had.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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