Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Music News Site Asks for Help Fending Off Music Service

Quick update on the weird story of Grooveshark versus Digital Music News. The publisher of the music news site says he needs help fending off the music service’s legal challenge.

The backstory is here, but here’s the short-as-possible version: Grooveshark, a music service fighting lawsuits filed by the big music labels, is going after Digital Music News. The trade site had published anonymous comments accusing Grooveshark of deliberately violating copyright law.

Grooveshark says it needs information about the commenter — like the person’s IP address, etc. — so it can defend itself in its own lawsuit against the music labels.

But as Digital Music News publisher Paul Resnikoff points out in a post, this contradicts what Grooveshark has been telling the court in its battle against Universal Music Group, which is that the comments in question shouldn’t constitute evidence.

Confusing, yes? Even shorter version: Resnikoff says he can’t and won’t comply with Grooveshark’s subpoenas. But he is worried about how he’ll mount a legal defense. “We are a very small company and need the help,” he writes. “We are actively soliciting amici curiae and even pro bono litigation assistance in this matter.”

Meanwhile, an honest question: Does Google know that its ads are running on Grooveshark? If it does, does that mean it thinks the site is legal?

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work