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Google boots Grooveshark from Android Market

Just before a scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill to testify about its antipiracy efforts, Google removes an app provided by a music service long accused of copyright violations.

Screen shot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

WASHINGTON--Google has removed Grooveshark's music app from the Android Market, a move that comes after some of the top music labels have accused the service of violating copyright law, sources said.

"We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies," a Google spokesman said in response to questions from CNET. He did not specify what violations Grooveshark may have committed or whether Google had been pressured by the music industry to remove the app.

A Grooveshark representative was not immediately available for comment.

Related links
• Google to testify on piracy before House subcommittee
• Has Google jumped sides in copyright war?
• Grooveshark pulled from App Store

The recent removal of the app happened as Google prepared to testify at a hearing today before members of the House Judiciary committee in which Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, is scheduled to testify. A subcommittee is investigating sites that allegedly traffic in pirated or counterfeit goods. Google has been dogged by accusations that the company profits from piracy by allowing alleged pirate sites to post Google ads. The company denies this and is expected to outline the company's antipiracy efforts at today's hearing.

Grooveshark, based in Gainesville, Fla., is a service that offers free music by enabling users to post their own tracks to the site and then share them with other users. The service, which boasts more than 6 million songs, was accused by EMI in a lawsuit of copyright violations, a case that was settled in 2009 when Grooveshark agreed to license the label's catalog.

Months later, however, Universal Music Group, the largest of the top four labels, filed another copyright suit against the company. That case is still pending. Music industry sources say Universal as well as Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment continue to view Grooveshark as a pirate site.

After receiving complaints from the top record companies last year, Apple removed Grooveshark from its App Store in August.

Correction 8:45 a.m. PT: This story initially gave an incorrect time frame for when Google removed Grooveshark from the Android Market. The removal occurred recently.