Universal's lawsuit against Grooveshark could be worth over $17 billion

But the music streaming service says the whole suit is based on a 'false internet blog comment'

Tom Oxley/NME
Pic: Tom Oxley/NME
Universal's lawsuit against Grooveshark could cost the online music streaming service up to $17 billion (£10.9 billion) if it succeeds.

The record company, which is home to the likes of Klaxons and Jessie J, has filed a lawsuit which claims that Grooveshark, which allows users to search, stream and upload music, has uploaded more than 113,000 songs illicitly to their site and are reported to want $150,000 (£96,000) in compensation for each track.

According to initial reports, Universal took the decision to sue after they obtained emails and other records proving that Grooveshark employees posted pirated songs on their service and are seeking damages for each infringement.

Grooveshark attorney Marshall Custer has issued a statement to Digital Music News which rejects the suit's claim and says that the record company's case is wholly reliant on "an anonymous, blatantly false internet blog comment". The statement also accuses the record company of a "gross mischaracterization of information that Grooveshark itself provided to Universal".

Custer's statement reads: "We have reviewed the complaint that Universal Music Group filed last Friday against Grooveshark in the US District Court in Manhattan. Universal’s claims rest almost entirely on an anonymous, blatantly false internet blog comment and Universal's gross mischaracterization of information that Grooveshark itself provided to Universal."

It continues: "While Universal has deliberately engaged the media prior to serving a copy of the complaint on Grooveshark, Grooveshark intends to fight this battle before the Court, not in the press. Grooveshark welcomes the opportunity to present the facts to the Court and has full confidence that it will prevail in the litigation."

No court date has been set for the lawsuit as yet.

Universal Music recently agreed a deal to purchase the recorded music division of EMI for £1.2 billion. Artists on EMI include the likes of The Beatles, Coldplay and Tinie Tempah.

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