A Grooveshark Clone Has Surfaced Online

A Grooveshark imposter is swimming the Web.

Less than a week after the rogue digital music site went offline and its owners apologized for their “very serious mistake” in failing to secure licenses, a clone of Grooveshark has surfaced at Grooveshark.io.

The Verge notes this new recording industry headache in-waiting allows users to stream, download and search for music files, including the many copyright-protected works that led to the downfall of the original Grooveshark.

In contrast to the original service at Grooveshark.com there doesn’t appear to be an upload function (although it licensed some music, Grooveshark built most of its catalog from the uploads of its users). 

Requiem for a Grooveshark: How Did It Last So Long?

After a protracted legal case involving the three major music companiees, Escape Media, parent company of Grooveshark, recently agreed to settle and cease all operations, effectively "wiping its computer servers of all the record companies’ music, and surrendering ownership of its website, mobile apps and intellectual property," according to the RIAA. Grooveshark was facing up to $736 million in statutory damages at a trial that was about to begin. The maximum statutory penalty per infringement is $150,000 for willful violations.

The Grooveshark founders said via a RIAA statement: “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 our service. That was wrong. We apologize.”

It would appear the folks behind Grooveshare were much too late in wiping their servers. The creator of the clone, who goes by the pseudonym Shark, claims to have backed up 90 percent of the content hosted on the original Grooveshark (a dateline on the Website would suggest the team has been pulling these files since 2013).

The Baffling (and Slightly Insane) World Of Streaming Payments, Explained

The blurb on its Website reads: “At Grooveshark.io, we respect the value of copyrights and intellectual property. We support the artists, writers, editors and producers who create the music, videos, news and other content available on the Web.” But this argument comes unstuck with its legal disclaimer which notes: “Before you start downloading songs we want to tell you the following: The songs you want to download may have copyright(s) on them. This means you're not allowed to download the song if you don't possess the original record. We don't add MP3s manually, therefore we can't assure that songs are copyrighted or not.” 

The original Grooveshark managed to stay afloat so long by exploiting a component of copyright law called a "safe harbor" that protects digital services from the infringing behaviors of third parties. It seems the clone is trying to apply this same argument.

"I have huge and unexpected plans for Grooveshark," Shark tells the Verge via email, "and I promise you this is not even close to being its end."


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