Grooveshark was one of the last big illegal music services left when it was shut down by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) earlier this year. So it’s not all that surprising that a Grooveshark clone received similar legal treatment, although the size of the fine is something else.
Days after the Grooveshark clone went online, the RIAA took the matter to court, quickly gaining a temporary injunction. That was ignored, although the clone’s anonymous operator also went silent.
Following a few months of legal proceedings, the RIAA won a default judgement in New York federal court today, thanks to the defendant not showing up. He's unlikely to come out to complain, either: the judgement fined him $US13 million in piracy damages ($US150,000 for each of the 89 pirated tracks used in evidence), as well as $US4 million for counterfeiting the Grooveshark name. Getting fined for ripping off a piracy site must hurt.
In any case, the RIAA will probably have a hard time finding the owner, much less squeezing him for $US17 million. But the message they're trying to send comes over loud and clear: the RIAA is bored of Grooveshark.