It’s difficult to tell exactly what this means, though the development closely follows a major legal setback for Grooveshark against Universal Music Group. Over the weekend, Torrentfreak unearthed a binding ‘consent judgment’ and ‘permanent injunction’ signed by attorneys representing a Grooveshark employee.
Others, by unspecified Grooveshark employees, have also been signed.
The agreement below, which lists all three major label groups, is stamped May 15th, 2013 (full document, here). Attorneys representing Nikola Arabadjiev, an active Senior Quality Assurance Analyst at Grooveshark since 2009 (according to LinkedIn), signed the agreement. Universal Music Group attorneys Jenner & Block are the other signatories.
The agreement basically states that the individual:
(a) will not infringe on any of the recordings owned by the Plaintiffs in the future, via Grooveshark or any other platform;
(b) will not infringe on these rights through the operation or development of any other platform, as an employee or otherwise; and
(c) will not be held liable for copyright infringement by remaining an employee of Grooveshark, unless specific violations are unearthed (see (a)).
Other listed employees include CEO Sam Tarantino, Joshua Greenberg, Paul Geller, and Benjamin Westermann-Clark, though there’s no indication these individuals have signed the injunctions. We’ve emailed Sam Tarantino for comment; attorneys for Grooveshark are actively litigating against Digital Music News at the moment, which complicates any communications.
So let’s see where this goes: agreements like these typically indicate some sort of final settlement between the parties, which means, Arabadjiev and others are probably getting removed from the case. Perhaps Arabadjiev’s hands are clean, or, the Plaintiffs (ie, the major labels) forged some punitive settlement and are now focusing on bigger fish like Tarantino.
In a response to Torrentfreak, attorneys for Grooveshark indicated that Tarantino and other top executives are unlikely to sign the documents (while also confirming signatures by other employees, past or present). Tarantino, among others, are accused of knowingly violating the DMCA by personally (and illegally) uploading tracks into the Grooveshark database.
“We are pleased that the case between Universal Music and Escape Media has been narrowed and simplified by the removal of some individual defendants from the case upon their stipulation to simply obey the law — something Escape Media does every day through its active licensing of millions of tracks and its strict compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” Grooveshark attorneys offered in the statement.