Controversial music service Grooveshark has been forced to close its doors on its users in Germany after German performance rights organisation GEMA pressured the service to the point it would incur “disproportionately high operating costs” if it continued to operate in the country.
Grooveshark, which recently launched its new HTML5 web app to allow smartphone and tablet owners to access the service without the need for a native iOS, Android or other native app, now displays a closure notice on its website for German users (translated):
Because disproportionately high operating costs is one Grooveshark access from Germany.
We hope that you follow our recommendation and try out the popular music service simfy: http://simfy.de.
Grooveshark welcomes users to write to GEMA to voice their complaints and in the meantime recommends that they try out similar German music website Simfy. However, whilst Simfy offers free access to users, they are limited to five hours per month, with a Premium account costing €4.99 per month.
The company also allows users to be export the music they uploaded to the service, providing a link on its website to access its music exporter tool.
GEMA represents more than 60,000 artists, music composers and publishers, protecting more than a million copyright owners worldwide and has been in the news before over its limitations on web services. In March 2009, Google pulled music videos from major labels from YouTube in Germany, after GEMA requested that the search giant paid 12 Euro cents for each streamed music video.
Earlier this month, we reported that Grooveshark was being sued again, this time by major record label EMI.
Less than two months ago, Universal Music Group was going after Grooveshark for illegally uploaded tracks to its music sharing service. While Grooveshark denied the claims, we haven’t heard much of it since, meaning it hasn’t been settled or dismissed as of yet.
EMI’s lawsuit claims that Grooveshark is in breach of contract, since it hasn’t paid music royalties that it agreed to pay since signing a deal in 2009. It is claimed that these royalties total somewhere around $150,000.
In addition to this new claim by EMI, Grooveshark has now infuriated all four major record labels with Sony Music and Warner Music Group joining the original Universal claim.