Grooveshark had better hope their defense stands up in court. According to court documents obtained by Digital Music News early this morning, the latest lawsuit from Universal Music Group would saddle Grooveshark and its executives with more than $17 billion in damages if proven correct. And, just like the Limewire case, that likely includes punishing personal liabilities against top Grooveshark employees.
The complaint, filed in the US District Court in Manhattan, can be found here.
The following is a list of specific Grooveshark executives and employees accused of personally uploading unauthorized tracks into the Grooveshark system. On the aggregate, UMG accuses the defendants of uploading 113,777 songs.
The math gets pretty outrageous, pretty quickly. Universal is seeking $150,000 per infringement, pushing the liability to roughly $17.1 billion.
But wait: Grooveshark is now denying all charges, particularly a reference to an anonymous comment in Digital Music News. That comment, allegedly from a Grooveshark employee, claims that the company actively and routinely uploads files. The comment – and the article to which it is attached – comprise a substantial chunk of the court complaint.
Grooveshark says it’s all a fabrication. “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,” Grooveshark general counsel Marshall Custer told us.
“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.”
This is the comment in question, posted last month as part of this story.