Major Music Labels Sue Filesharing App- Aurous For Copyright Theft
Written by Fozia Cheychi on 14 October 2015« Return to Reading Room
The three major labels in the music world, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, and two of their subsidiaries, Atlantic and Capitol have filed a lawsuit in the US District Court of Southern Florida. The lawsuit alleges “wilful and egregious copyright infringement” by Aurous.
The lawsuit has filed by on behalf of the labels by US industry body RIAA, The complaint seeks an immediate injunction against the availability and operation of the software and the maximum per-infringement damages allowable, which are $150,000 per piece of copyrighted material.
Aurous is similar to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music in the sense that it offers a selection of songs available to stream direct from dedicated apps. However unlike Spotify and Apple Music, Aurous is completely free of charge with no ads. The other streaming services have negotiated expensive deals with record labels and artists alike to feature their music, Aurous has avoided that hurdle and instead pulls music from a variety of third party sources. The lawsuit alleges that its sources are piracy sites.
The filesharing app is built by Andrew Sampson and was launched in alpha form earlier this week. He is also named as a defendant in the proceedings.
A spokesperson from RIAA stated “This service is a flagrant example of a business model powered by copyright theft on a massive scale”, the statement continued “Like Grokster, Limewire or Grooveshark it is neither licensed nor legal. We will not allow such a service to wilfully trample the rights of music creators”.
The three sites named in the statement “Grokster, Limewire and Grooveshark” were all shut down following legal action. Thus reinforcing RIAA’s belief that Aurous will similarly be shut down.
In an interview published earlier this week Sampson defended the app. He stated “At the most fundamental level, it’s a music player like any other. What stands out is that it can take advantage of other existing platforms and piggyback off those”, he continued “You have YouTube, Spotify playlists, Apple Music playlists- the end goal, once we’re out of alpha, is to put those playlists into our app, and it’ll do the rest of the work. So you can listen from anywhere that you have a playlist”.
The lawsuit claims that the Aurous Network- which is the default source within the application is pulling files from Pleer- a Russian piracy website. Other sites from where it is claimed music is pulled from include MP3WithMe, VK and MP3Skull, these have all been accused of piracy by music labels.
Aurous has responded to the lawsuit with defiance and have described the lawsuit via its Twitter account as “empty”, “Don’t worry we’re not going anywhere, empty lawsuits aren’t going to stop the innovation of the next best media player”. Sampson tweeted via his own account “Getting sued for 3 million when I haven’t made anything: that’s how you know your idea was a good one”.
The RIAA on the other hand are confident that they have a strong case and that the service will be shut down. The lawsuit stated Defendants have failed to take any meaningful action to prevent the widespread and rapidly growing infringement by its users, and in fact have taken affirmative steps to encourage, promote and assist infringement by their users”.
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