Today’s big IP headline not involving the Jamie Thomas trial is that EMI has sued Grooveshark. Grooveshark is an interactive online streaming music service. Grooveshark’s motto is “play any song in the world for free.”
The focus is on how Grooveshark was in the midst of negotiations with EMI when EMI sued. While the articles I have seen correctly point out that this is not an usual negotiation ploy by labels (see Universal/Myspace and Imeem/Warner) none have mentioned the royalty rates Grooveshark must pay to songwriters and music publishers as an interactive music service.
My question isn’t why EMI is suing Grooveshark, but why hasn’t someone else done it already. The latest agreement approved by the copyright royalty board bases the rates on the licenses with record labels. Given that their is apparently no agreement with any of the major record labels, I find it unlikely the songwriters and music publishers were getting paid.
I imagine songwriters and music publishers are used to this as the 2006 agreement is still under appeal (and thus it is unlikely they have seen any money.) Still given the amount of fighting over this latest agreement and the late payment provisions it seems like some litigious songwriter or music publisher would have wanted to set a precedent.