April 30, 2015

Jenner & Block secured a resounding victory for its clients UMG Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group on April 30, 2015, when Grooveshark agreed to shut down after years of litigation, consented to the entry of a $50 million judgment and transferred all of its intellectual property to the plaintiffs, avoiding a looming jury verdict that could have left the company owing $736 million in copyright infringement damages.  This victory was hailed by the Recording Industry Association of America as "an important victory for artists and the entire music industry," which “ends a major source of infringing activity."

Last fall, the firm obtained an important victory in the matter when the US District Court for the Southern District of New York granted its motion for summary judgment and found defendants Escape Media Group, Inc. and its co-founders liable for copyright infringement for directing company employees to upload copyrighted sound recordings to the Grooveshark music service.  The complaint asserted that Escape and its founders engaged in this campaign in order to attract users to Grooveshark.  In addition to finding the company liable for copyright infringement arising from this conduct, Judge Thomas P. Griesa found Grooveshark’s founders, Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg, liable for personally uploading copyrighted songs to Grooveshark as well as for their role in directing the infringement by their employees.  Grooveshark was also sanctioned for destroying evidence, including source code and data reflecting the uploading of files by Escape employees.  More recently, the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion holding defendants to be willful infringers thus increasing their potential liability to $150,000 per infringed work.

The team representing the record companies included Partners Andrew H. BartGianni P. Servodidio and Adam G. Unikowsky and Associates Lindsay W. Bowen, Alison I. Stein and  Ava U. McAlpin.

Coverage on settlement can be found in Billboard, Law360 (subscription may be required), The New York Times, Recode, Reuters and Variety.