If you like streaming music, chances are you've either tried or been referred to Grooveshark. The flash-based web app lets users stream millions of songs from thousands of artists free of charge. Unlike a lot of other streaming services like Rdio and Rhapsody, Grooveshark stays free in part by relying on songs uploaded by users as opposed to offering only licensed music. This practice, while making the site incredibly popular with fans, has alienated it with the recording industry, who argue that the site is malicious and "dedicated to copyright infringement."
Just this month, Grooveshark was booted from the Android Marketplace because of the copyright issue, and the app has been long gone from the App Store, after being jettisoned by Apple in August of 2010. Now Grooveshark wants to clear its name, defending its status as a legal service in a new open letter. The passionate plea, released today, states the following:
"In light of the recent misleading press concerning Grooveshark's application, it is important to make clear that we will defend our service, and the letter and the spirit of the law, in court and in Congress. We will defend our name and our ideals for the sake of our users who expect modern delivery systems and comprehensive access across devices, for the sake of artists and content owners who fear another decade of decline, and for other innovators who continue to bring new ideas to market through the expression of creativity in the form of technology."
Grooveshark says it has licensing deals with over 1,000 labels and works with them to take down offending material. The company says it has taken down over 1.76 million files due to copyright complaints, and suspended over 22,000 offending users.
For now, though, the shark remains a pariah.