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Answered 2009-02-03 14:56:07

Good Question. The answer, is more than just a little scary!

Groovesharks Terms of Service state that you are personally liable and that you will indemnify, hold harmless and defend Escape Media Group "EMG", (Groovesharks parent company) and their respective directors, officers and employees, from any liability, including legal fees for any claim brought by any 3rd party.

So if you offer a song for sale for which they do not have the agreement of the copyright holder, you are liable, not them.

Grooveshark has no filters, it allows you to offer all music and any other user can buy that music from you.

So you it is your responsibility to know which artists have signed agreements with grooveshark. 70 have so far.

Grooveshark state that they hold any money collected for any artist with whom they do not have an agreement in place in an escrow account. But that wont help you if the RIAA, a record company or artist decides to sue you. It wouldn't help you either if any of the above decided to sue Grooveshark, because it is you who have traded the media, not them, you are liable, not them and in signing up, that is what you are agreeing in the End User License Agreement.

Grooveshark may be legal, but if someone buys any music other than the artists with whom they have made agreements, then you have broken the law, not them. (These guys didn't call themselves sharks for nothing you know)

it is not beyond the wit of the record companies, the RIAA/IFPI and the many others with a vested interest in defending the status quo of copyright law to use Grooveshark to ensnare potentially millions of people. If you allow them to buy music from you, for that few cents you will have earned, you have given them irrefutable proof which would stand up in any court of law. In the most recent case where the RIAA was awarded $122,000 against a single mother, she could at least plead ignorance. If you have received money, it would be difficult to plead stupidity.

Of course, you could argue that Grooveshark are morally wrong for having fooled you into believing it was legal. Just goes to show, all those terms and conditions we habitually click through in the belief that they are unenforceable have in the hands of Grooveshark, become extremely dangerous WMD for the recording industry and the RIAA.

This is where it gets scary. Grooveshark put out all this PR about it being started by 3 Uni students in Florida, along with a picture of some over weight kids. But with Vincent Castellucci of Harry Fox, the leading royalties collection agency sitting on their board of directors and the 4,000 word Terms of Service (10 pages A4!) which dupes users through the usual privacy stuff into a sophisticated and elaborate web of liabilities, indemnities and responsibilities, suggests it might not be as naive as they would have you believe.

The ToS's are difficult to find on the grooveshark website and when you do find them, the helpful ever friendly Grooveshark Support Centre asks: feeling lost? They know you are gullible and wont read the next 4,000 words to figure out what you are getting yourself into.

Finally, of course this is probably the best answer to what seems like a simple but actually a very complicated question ever on Yahoo Questions. It merits a lot more than some points, I don't have any and don't want any, donate them to Jammie Thomas. But if you feel as angry about this as I have become researching the answer, I ask you respond by putting as much effort into making others aware of this contemptuous attempt to exploit susceptible, credulous users, as I have put into answering your question

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