Aurous Is Now Being Sued by Atlantic, Warner Bros., UMG, Sony, and Capitol Records

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The following is a breaking story; please check back for ongoing developments.  

Less than three days after launch, Aurous, dubbed the ‘Popcorn Time for Music,’ is now being sued by ‘Big Three’ major recording labels Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment, as well as their various subsidiaries.  The listed plaintiffs are Atlantic Recording Corporation, Warner Bros. Records, Inc., UMG Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment, and Capitol Records, LLC., all major label divisions.

The lawsuit, which alleges “blatant copyright infringement,” was filed in the US District Court of Southern Florida today (Tuesday), the home turf of Aurous and its founding developer, Andrew Sampson.  The complete filing, obtained by Digital Music News shortly after its receipt by District Court clerks, is available below.

“Like Grokster, Limewire or Grooveshark, it is neither licensed nor legal.”

The lawsuit is being coordinated by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which typically represents the major labels in litigation of this sort.  “This service is a flagrant example of a business model powered by copyright theft on a massive scale,” the RIAA declared.  “Like Grokster, Limewire or Grooveshark, it is neither licensed nor legal.

“We will not allow such a service to willfully trample the rights of music creators.”

Grokster, Limewire, and Grooveshark were all shut down by major label litigation, and their reference in this lawsuit is no accident.  This big difference in this scenario is that the RIAA, often derided as a high-salaried country club, often waits months or years to initiate litigation of this sort, with tens of millions of users already amassed.  In the case of Aurous, the action is happening almost immediately, though even after a few days, the application is gaining heavy uptake.


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Sampson might have some reasonable defenses: in interviews, the Aurous founder has argued that his application isn’t directly infringing artist content, but merely assembling music content though a myriad of APIs.  Sampson has even disagreed with the endless associations with ‘Popcorn Time,’ though BitTorrent will be the preferred delivery method for Aurous’ streaming platform.

Overall, the architecture of Aurous sounds like a loose collection of legal and illegal streaming content, with Aurous itself hosting none of it.  That is markedly different from sites like Grooveshark, buried earlier this year, though roughly similar to applications like Grokster and Limewire, at least from the perspective of content hosting.  Of course, most of the similarities end there, with BitTorrent-powered streaming a whole new breed of piracy animal.

More as this develops.  The full filing is below:


21 Responses

  1. Tone

    As someone who grew up on Napster and has illegally downloaded thousands of songs since over the years, I can no longer justify services like this. The fact that people don’t think it’s worth paying $10/month for UNLIMITED MUSIC but will happily pay the same amount for a drink at a bar is insane. We have truly become a culture of entitlement and it will be the downfall of us. It’s shameful.

    • vinoveritas

      The real value to apps like this is in their ability to stick two fingers up to people like Taylor Swift and other artists who want to try and “wall off” their music or only offer them as exclusives to certain platforms like Tidal. None of that nonsense on Aurous, this is good leverage for the other ‘legal’ apps such as Spotify.

      • Tone

        Why would you want to hurt the entire industry just because of a few stars like Taylor Swift? And besides, there’s nothing wrong with artists choosing which platforms have their content. Sure, it’s annoying to us fans but it all goes back to the issue of entitlement. Artists owe us NOTHING and I respect anyone who wants to further their career. So what if someone blocks their content on a free service like Spotify that pays artists close to nothing? Go buy the fucking song or album, man. Jesus.

      • SMH

        So you’re saying artists shouldn’t get paid for their music and allow you leaches to continue to download and stream their music that they work hard on for free? SMH! They should allow the CEO’s of those streaming services to line their pockets up and get rich instead? They’re trying to “wall off” their music to you self entitled leeches. Music costs money to be maid. Studio time isn’t free… mixing isn’t free… mastering isn’t free… and their time isn’t free. They have the right to whatever the hell they want with their music. It’s called the music BUSINESS not the music HOBBY! Smh!

    • NMe

      While I agree with what you’re saying, I would hardly call Spotify and similar services “unlimited music.” Spotify is very incomplete at times, either because labels don’t want to have their artists on Spotify or because Spotify doesn’t seem to want certain music at all.

      @vinoveritas: Taylor Swift pulled her music because Spotify doesn’t pay enough. And that’s true, it doesn’t. There are plenty of website showing what artists and songwriters actually earn from Spotify. I read an article not too long ago which said how the writer of “All About That Bass” didn’t even earn more than a thousand dollars off of that song. And we’re talking about a worldwide hit song here…

  2. RicoD

    Leaving aside the whole legal issue stuff of the software… Why the hell do you show up a picture of the residence of the developer? Is this what you call journalism? Do you expect “angry musicians” to show up with forks? Some poor music managers to pillory him?
    Quite annoying!

  3. Anonymous

    LOL at this dummy. His life is deservedly going to be ruined for a piece of shite app that no one in their right mind would ever want to use anyway. Smooth move! Darwin strikes again…

    • Remi Swierczek

      Record labels should fire their CEOs and sue them for ongoing GROSS NEGLIGENCE.

      We have over $200B of annual music and it’s overdue to start the harvest.

      Grainge and Morris are no different than Castro or Kim Jong-un to music industry or musicians.
      Blavatnik fits to his own oligarchic roots.

  4. BP

    Putting in a picture of the personal residence of the defendant is not ethical. Might I remind the writer that a person is innocent until proven guilty and that especially in court cases privacy should be upheld to prevent witch-hunts. I sincerely hope that you will learn your lesson that when something does go wrong, your personal liability insurance is considerable.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Well, the address is listed right there in the summons, which is now publicly available information. I’d argue this is relevant; after all, the reason I looked initially was to get a sense for who this Andrew Sampson guy was. A millionaire? A billionaire? I didn’t discover anything like that, at least by the residence; this helps people put this person into context.

      • How About You?

        Should someone dox you as well? It’s blatantly unethical and thuggish behavior. Maybe it is a matter of public record, but interested parties can take the extra step themselves. It is unacceptable for a ‘journalist’ to cross this line.

        • Anonymous

          Tough shit. Sampson brought this all on by himself. Fuck with us, and we will bury you.

        • Paul Resnikoff

          Sure. Take a picture of where I live, and post it somewhere. That’s your right. Actually it’s a protected right.

          Now, BREAK into my place and steal stuff, and you’ve committed a crime.

          See the difference?

  5. Rick Shaw

    This isn’t breaking news. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Real news about this would be related to developments in the lawsuit such as an agreement or an outcome.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I’m not sure I’m following your logic. The ‘news’ is the event, which is the filing of the lawsuit. The ‘breaking’ part means it just happened: we posted it within an hour of it happening.

  6. Anonymous

    This is literally a small guy (his wikipedia page says he’s 20 years old) who wrote a search engine, using public services to find music.
    What’s next, will Sony sue Google because they could POTENTIALLY profit from people finding illegally uploaded music over their search engine? That’s absolutely ridiculous.

    To me, this looks like a small guy who got a lucky amount of media attention after his personal tech project went viral. He just seems to have an interest in this kinda thing, because Wikipedia lists Netflixroulette (another search engine) too.