A Danish court just decided that Grooveshark violates copyrights and is ordering an Internet service provider to block the American music-streamer, marking a huge victory for a cohort of record-industry insiders — and a major blow to Web-freedom advocates.
The group of entertainment companies, RettighedsAlliancen, demanded that the Danish Bailiff Court bar U.S.-based Grooveshark from Denmark’s ISPs, according to TorrentFreak.
The collective’s prez, Maria Fredenslund, argued that Grooveshark didn’t have agreements or licenses with her organization’s members.
The telecom company targeted in the lawsuit countered that Grooveshark does offer a lot of licensed content — so that a block would be tantamount to censorship.
The court ruled, however, that too much copyright infringement is taking place and agreed to RettighedsAlliancen’s request.
Fredenslund told reporters: “Grooveshark is an illegal site, which is really big and popular. But they have a business model that is based on trickery and fraud…Many users believe that when they use Grooveshark, payment goes back to the artists and producers. So we think it was important to close off access so the legitimate sites have a chance to recover.”
Internet-freedom advocates, however, remain wary.
Troels Møller, co-founder of Internet think tank Bitbureauet, described the court’s move as excessive, telling TorrentFreak: “This is an attack on free speech and basic Internet freedom. Danish politicians need to educate themselves on this subject and realize that what is going on is very dangerous. It’s a slippery slope into complete Internet censorship.”
He added: “In Denmark, we are seeing this kind of censorship in more and more areas. It has expanded from blocking child-abuse sites to also blocking file-sharing sites like the Pirate Bay, and again to foreign pharmacy and gambling sites. And now we see blocking of music-streaming sites without the proper license. What’s next?”
The telecom company is weighing appeal options and has four weeks to decide whether it will protest the judge’s decision in a higher court.