Thursday, July 16, 2015
Plaintiffs try to end-around downstream liability protections for CloudFlare in Grooveshark case
There is a long sad history of a site called Grooveshark, which the company explained some time back (April 30, 2015) on its own strike page when it was forced to “disappear” the site here It had offered consumers a way to play songs they wanted in an “it’s free” mindset.
A group of copyright holders had sued, with the predictable result of a shutdown as explained here on Business Insider, link. Instead, old Groovehark says that there are a lot of other competitive sites that can offer the same concept (like Taylor Swift’s nemesis, Spotify).
But Mitch Stoltz of Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that soon another site calling itself “Grooveshark” appeared. A group of artists sued a provider called Cloudflare and tried to force the site to “police” users in advances, which runs contradictory to how both Section 230 and DMCA Takedown are supposed to work. Fortunately, a federal judge in New York, Alison J. Nathan, ruled that CloudFlare will not have to pre-police users. This seems to reverse an earlier ruling.
EFF embedded the court opinion PDF.
It’s scary that plaintiffs still keep trying to jeopardize the whole world of user-generated content – maybe not so much out of real piracy but to get rid of low-cost, unmonetized competition.