Copyright holders have won a court case in Denmark, giving them the right to force an internet service provider (ISP) to block the music streaming website Grooveshark.
Continuing the European trend of music site take downs - RnBXclusive being the big story in the UK in the past few days - it looks like Grooveshark might not have much life left in it, with telecoms company '3' being pressured and somewhat threatened into blocking the service. Using the language we've come to expect from bills like the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), 3 is being charged with contributing to copyright infringement, merely because some of its customers partake in it.
This makes about as much sense as the copyright holders that people buy music from being just as responsible because their customers also pirate. Do you only need a financial link to diagnose culpability?
Admittedly it doesn't sound like Grooveshark has helped itself much. The media collective that's been targeting the site - known as RettighedsAlliancen - said that the streaming site has been "completely uncooperative" in negotiations which basically means it's refused to take anything down. It's understandable why, but compromising might have kept the site accessible.
3 is going to comply as after losing this case, it doesn't have much choice. Fortunately for the business - that has done nothing wrong itself - the court believes it won't be financially impacted. Since the customers it's blocking from using the site were technically infringing copyright, they have no grounds to sue.
Still, it hardly makes it look good. If your ISP restricted the websites you visited, would you stick with them, or just switch and get back to your normal browsing?
In a public statement, RettighedsAlliancen chief Maria Fredenslund said: "Grooveshark is an illegal site, which is really big and popular. But they have a business model that is based on trickery and fraud." She continued by saying that a lot of users believed they were giving money to the artists by listening to music. I'm not sure if internet users are that naive, but hey.
Of course my own sarcastic comments about this aren't the blocking's only detraction. Co-founder of internet think-tank Bitbureauet, Troels Møller, said that he thinks that blocking websites is sending us in a bad direction.
"This is an attack on free speech and basic Internet freedom. Danish politicians need to educate themselves on this subject, and realize that what is going on is very dangerous. It's a slippery-slope into complete internet censorship," he told TorrentFreak.
"In Denmark we are seeing this kind of censorship in more and more areas. It has expanded from blocking child abuse-sites to also blocking file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay, and again to foreign pharmacy and gambling sites. And now we see blocking of music streaming sites without the proper license. What's next?"