Grooveshark Intensifies Its Efforts to Subpoena Digital Music News…

Grooveshark and its parent company, Escape Media Group, are now exerting heavy pressure on Digital Music News to enforce a subpoena related to an alleged whistleblower.  The company is now marshalling the resources of two prestigious law firms – Rosenberg & Giger in New York, and McPherson Rane LLP in Los Angeles – and filing a court petition for subpoena enforcement while scheduling a hearing in LA Superior Court on May 15th.  This army of litigators is headed by Matthew Giger, with Anita Stephan, Pierre Pine, and Edwin McPherson heading the LA-based effort.  McPherson is perhaps the most illustrious member of this group, thanks to a clientele that includes Lindsay Lohan.

Of course, a legal team this extensive (and expensive) means endless and redundant paperwork, lecturing ‘nastygrams’ and not-so-friendly phone calls.  That’s probably part of a well-worn intimidation tactic designed to bury ‘opponents,’ but often divorced from the actual merits of the case.  We have a shoe-string budget for defending against this onslaught.

Regardless, we hope that we can convince the court on the merits, while upholding critical protections.  Accordingly, Digital Music News has filed a Response to the Escape-Grooveshark Petition that outlines our positions on the matter.

 Grooveshark’s Petition for Subpoena Enforcement

 Digital Music News’ Filed Response

 

A major issue we’re presenting to the Court involves two very different and contradictory arguments coming from Grooveshark ― one being told to a judge in New York, and another to the judge in Los Angeles.  In New York, Escape is moving aggressively to dismiss litigation brought by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, based on the lack of evidentiary weight offered by an  anonymous comment posted on Digital Music News (and the target of the subpoena).  In New York, the Escape legal team calls the anonymous comment ‘implausible on its face,’ and lacking ‘even the barest trace of reliability,’ and asks that the New York court disregard it as evidence.  Yet somehow those very strong New York arguments were omitted from a stack of paperwork presented by Escape to Los Angeles judge Richard A. Stone, who is being told that identifying information surrounding this anonymous commenter is important to the defense of the New York case.

 Grooveshark’s Motion to Dismiss (New York)

As a quick background, the anonymous commenter – in a story published by Digital Music News in October – talked about Grooveshark management’s role in uploading unlicensed songs into the Grooveshark system.  If true, that would constitute a serious violation of DMCA protections, and the anonymous comment has became part of a massive lawsuit brought by the major labels.  The majors allege that this comment ― along with a mass of other more ordinary evidence ― seem to be pointing in the same direction.  The anonymous comment carries no identifying information whatsoever, so we – just like the Escape legal team arguing in New York – are having trouble determining why it is important evidence in the New York case.

Which means the New York Court might agree with Escape, and determine that the anonymous comment is not substantial enough to be entered into evidence.  Yet somehow, judge Stone hasn’t yet been briefed by the Escape-Grooveshark legal team on the lack of weight of the anonymous comments it argues in New York, at least judging from the deluge of paperwork we’ve seen.  All of which raises the obvious question of whether this extremely time-consuming and expensive subpoena exercise makes any sense, or is merely wasting the finite resources of the court and Digital Music News.  And, more importantly, potentially trampling on First Amendment, journalist Shield Law, and related privacy concerns,  chilling the exercise of free speech.

There are other issues that we have presented to judge Stone.  Digital Music News has repeatedly stated that we have no further information about this anonymous commenter, and put that in writing.  Yet in private written correspondence, attorney Giger has flatly accused Digital Music News of lying, while lecturing us with completely misguided and uninformed information related to database architecture.  It makes this whole exercise seem vindictive, both against Digital Music News and the anonymous commenter.  It seems like it would be extremely damaging to Grooveshark’s case in New York if it was discovered that the anonymous commenter is actually a Grooveshark employee.  But the discovery would also seem to put the whistleblowing commenter at serious risk.

There are other reasons why we question the real motives for this subpoena attempt, and wonder whether vindictiveness is involved.  For example, top Grooveshark executive Paul Geller publicly told the PHO list that he suspects a ‘nefarious’ relationship between Digital Music New and Universal Music Group, and pointed to that as a major reason for the subpoena action.  We’re not sure that this allegation stands the legal litmus test for a subpoena, nor do we think it’s a good idea to tamper with important First Amendment and Shield Law protections for such a frivolous and misguided motivation.

And, to potentially sympathetic organizations: over the past few weeks, Digital Music News has been approached by a few organizations that might help our defense. We are a very small company and need the help.  We are actively soliciting amici curiae and even pro bono litigation assistance in this matter.  Please contact me personally (paulr — at — digitalmusicnews — dot — com; (310) 928-1498) to discuss.

30 Responses

    • Visitor
      Visitor

      …ironic that grooveshark is both hiding behind free speech (DMCA) and also arguing against it (in attempting to surpress DMN)…

      Reply
  1. lmnop
    lmnop

    Risky move lawyers. I’m surprised that McPherson especially would take the case, they might get blacklisted by the Hollywood Mafia on this one and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get scared off the case just like Bennett was on Mega Upload. RIAA+MPAA want Grooveshark dead end of story and are taking names of enemies along the way. You wanna work in this town again, kid?

    Reply
  2. JacksonL
    JacksonL

    Looks like lawyers are calling the shots and running the show here. Sueing DMN? Hmmm.. dumb move but great for billable hours.
    Just make sure Grooveshark PAYS you guys.
    (they don’t like to pay for things)

    Reply
  3. Know it all
    Know it all

    Groovehark will prevail and comeout stronger form this mess.
    Paul Good luck to you but Grooveshar has a right to exist and has to fight for its life now.

    Nothing personal

    Reply
  4. waiver oddly
    waiver oddly

    Hypocrites.
    Tech companies are all the same. They are all for freedom of speech until they need to suppress it.
    They are all for sharing other peoples work without permision unless it’s their software patents.
    All the morally challenged folks who just want to get rich used to go to wall street. now they become tech entreprenuers.
    here’s to the old days when the tech industry was run by geeks not ivy league frat boys.
    big babies.

    Reply
  5. Santa Barbara Mogul
    Santa Barbara Mogul

    Yeah Paul…wake up, Grooveshark is gonna prevail. Have you figured out yet that the BevHills music lawyer who ‘owns’ this website and delivers you all the mainpage sponsors and advertising.so basically ‘pays’ for you to be there..may likely be the one who created the whole mess, so he could ‘help’ clean it up with Universal, et al? Same as Dick Cheney started the wars and then offers to come in and be the hero to clean it up with Halliburton. Isn’t your buddy Ken Hertz gonna DEFEND Digital Music News, isn’t he giving you legal advice from behind the curtain?, who IS your legal rep and helping you on this matter? My company liked reading the recent headline last week you had on Kenneth Hertz about him helping Universal on some deal…Have you figured that he may be the key behind the scenes player who’d like NOTHING MORE than to see Grooveshark TANK so that Hertz’s secretive, cladestine operation inside LIVE NATION can start a similar venture of their own for bands….but owned by Hertz’s new “Live Nations Fund” and LN “Lab”? Then Hertz gets you Paul to write stories like this as if Grooveshark are to blame. CAUSE HE HAS YOU IN THE DARK. It’s genius, the ultimate TRICKSTER! You gotta admit, he played you like a violin Paul and was likely the main person behind the whole mess, so he and his colleagues could PROFIT from all of it…SO CLEVER! EVIL GENIUS, and taken you Paul and DMN in his stride, like it’s always been…”listening to _____(what) while I write this story”…he’s laughing the whole time dude, WAKE THE “F” UP. You’re nothing but a puppet to those guys, the “Mafia” as a previous poster called them, the people who try to blacklist and scare people away from exposing THE TRUTH…wow, Music Biz sounds like a great place to be …for new class of white collar criminals and worse…Good luck amigo! you’re already ten feet deep and sinking Paul. Have no idea who you’re in business with. So who IS your legal rep in this matter? Time to be transparent if you’re printing legal complaints from the other side and bad rapping lawyers for opposing side. Sounds like you’re being goaded into all this by You know who, that same lawyer, USING YOU + DMW AS HIS PERSONAL TOOL. A crime.

    Reply
    • ha!
      ha!

      Dear Grooveshark fanboys:
      It seems that Twitter has destroyed your ability to write and express yourself in English.

      Reply
    • steveh
      steveh

      So this explains why Grooveshark does not pay any artists and continually fails to comply with takedowns?
      Sounds like someone is Scarfacing on the devil’s dandriff to me….
      Paranoid machiavellian mindgames…..

      Reply
    • that's who
      that's who

      Ironically… the money they [Grooveshark] made stealing from musicians…
      They are no different from MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom… and deserve the same fate.

      Keep up the faith Paul, we’re behind you.

      Maybe we should start a legal defense donation fund?

      Reply
  6. Katarina Anglokav
    Katarina Anglokav

    I have a girlfriend whose name is Elenie Karas. She is a wonderful woman, and used to work for the attorney Kenneth B. Hertz. He had an off the radar kind of ‘marketing co’
    caled Membrain with no website or main phone number or anything traditional. Elenie worked there and had to quit the job at Membrain Marketing. She said her boss (Hertz and others) asked her numerous times to do highly unethical things and she didn’t feel comfortable. One night, she told me that this attorney (Hertz) and others at Membrain were very upset because GROOVESHARK has not responded to him the way he wanted. Grooveshark would not pay him (off) a retainer of $30k/mo for whatever it is Membrain sez it does. Also, they would rebuffed Ken Hertz at meetings and at lunch once she said. Execs there thought he was not the right kind of person they wanted to do business with. Elenie told me that she heard her boss (Hertz) say to the new president (Jennifer?) that quote he ‘would make them (GROOVESHARK) pay and they’d be sorry” because they didn’t want to work with him, or pay Membrain some ridiculous fees for a very nebulous service which never was defined she said. Anyway, she rebuffed her bosses at Membrain Marketing when they asked her to post something online at Digital Music News that would ‘realy hurt GROOVESHARK’. They wanted it to look like it was posted by an employee of Universal Records (UMG), looking (falsely)like they were blowing the whistle on GROOVESHARK. She WOULDN”T COOPERATE AND POST IT ON HER COMPUTER. So my friend Eleni QUIT MEMBRAIN and took another job at Edelman. She told a bunch of us later that Hertz (and Jennifer ?) found some stooge, some dupe named MARK SACKS who was a Yoga Instructor and coffee barista. And they convinced this Mark Sacks guy to do a bunch of dirty work for Membrain and Hertz, even though he didn’t really know what he was doing, cause he’s not the sharpest tool. Easy to control and convince to do unethical things to ‘get ahead’ in his new job. Sure enuf, Hertz makes this guy Mark SACKS a ‘director’ at Membrain after he posts some inflammatory and highly actionable ‘comment’ on DMN that points a legal finger at GROOVESHARK. Making the comment look like it (wrongly) came from a senior digital exec at Universal Music Group. Just what Hertz wanted, he has all the motivations and articulated it to several pple too that he wanted REVENGE against GROOVESHARK. So there you go. I hope that helps settle any confusion for the two law firms going after GROOVESHARK, adn who caused all the trouble in the first place, and the motivations behind it all. Look ’em up on LinkdIn..ELENI KARAS and MARK SACKS, then connect the rest of the dots. I feel bad for her, she’s a good person. Good thing she got out of there.

    Reply
  7. Katarina Anglokav
    Katarina Anglokav

    In my comment above, I mean to say that Hertz got Mark Sacks to write the bad post against GROOVESHARK, and they posted the controversial comment under the false guise of a GROOVE SHARK Employee of course.. not a UMG Employee. Although it’s all connected if you know what we know. This is illuminating information today for both law firms and GROOVE SHARK.

    Reply
  8. Sam Bartels Sr.
    Sam Bartels Sr.

    top Grooveshark executive Paul Geller publicly told the PHO list that he suspects a ‘nefarious’ relationship between Digital Music New and Universal Music Group, and pointed to that as a major reason for the subpoena action. YES, THAT”S OBVIOUS FROM THIS WOMAN’S STORY ABOVE ABOUT HERTZ (A KNOWN INSIDER AND CO-HORT OF UMG AND THE ONLY PERSON TO BENEFIT FROM A BIG LEGAL DISPUTE WITH GROOVESHARK), HIS SECRET MARKETING CO MEMBRAIN, THIS CHICK ELANI AND HER ‘REPLACEMENT” MARK SACKS WHO HERTZ GOT TO DO THE DIRTY WORK, POST THE MIS-INFORMATION ABOUT GROOVESHARK, SO HE COULD “HELP” UMG TO SETTLE THE LEGAL MESS AND HELP PUT GROOVESHARK..OUT OF BUSINESS. SO SOMEONE (HIM?)CAN CLAIM THE REWARDS AND BUILD HIS OWN VERSION OF GROOVESHARK AT LIVE NATION, WITH HIS CO-HORTS ADRIAN AND ROB, WITH HIS FRIENDS AT BIGCHAMPAGNE (AGAIN, LIVE NATION), AND HIS FRIENDS INSIDE LN.COM WHO RUN THE “FUND” AND LN “LABS”. ALL TEH PIECES OF THE PUZZLE ALL COME TOGETHER NOW. CLEAR TO SEE THE CULPRIT, WHO HAS THE MOTIVATIONS AND CAUSE AND IT”S SUBSTANTIATED BY HIS FORMER EMPLOYEES AND OTHER THIRD PARTIES.

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      Sam, Katarina, Santa Barbara Mogul, or whatever (obviously the same person/troll):
      Membrane called me, and told me that none of this information on this is true. Also, you might want to practice your trolling a bit, or take your medication, wait 30 minutes, exhale… then post. Better, right?
      /paul

      Reply
  9. steveh
    steveh

    Listen up – Hey! Stop posting all this bullshit.

    Grooveshark does not appear to correctly pay royalties.
    Grooveshark does not apprear to correctly deal with takedown notices from artists and small labels.
    End of story.

    Reply

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