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Grooveshark 'surprised' by Google snub

In e-mail to CNET, music-sharing service says it's not sure why, exactly, its Android app was yanked from Android Market by search giant cum budding entertainment-industry player.

Music-sharing service Grooveshark responded late today to having its Android app dumped from the Android Market, saying it wasn't sure why, exactly, the app had been pulled.

"We were surprised by Google's removal of the Grooveshark App from the Android Marketplace, and are still unclear as to what policies have now been violated," the company said in an e-mail to CNET.

As reported earlier today, Grooveshark, an online service that lets users upload songs and then share them with other users, saw its Android incarnation yanked by Google with little explanation. "We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies," was all a Google representative had to say when queried by CNET.

The timing of the removal is perhaps telling in that Google is being chastised by some federal lawmakers over what they see as the company's lackluster antipiracy efforts. Google is also courting the entertainment industry in order to bring more content to Google TV, as well as to an upcoming digital music service.

In 2009, Grooveshark, which oversees a cache of more than 6 million songs, responded to a copyright suit from record label EMI by agreeing to license the EMI catalog. But sources say other big labels still view the company as a pirate operation. Apple removed the Grooveshark iOS app from its App Store last August, after receiving complaints from the major labels. When queried earlier today, Google did not specify if it had been pressured by the music industry to yank Grooveshark.

Grooveshark's full statement follows:

We were surprised by Google's removal of the Grooveshark App from the Android Marketplace, and are still unclear as to what policies have now been violated. We have always had a positive relationship with Google as evidenced by the Grooveshark App's active and featured presence in the Android Marketplace for the past one and a half years.

We respect copyright law and the rights of content owners, generating positive results and revenues for the artists and labels that we have agreements with. Regarding the content for which we do not have agreements in place yet, we abide by, and pay royalties, according to the rules outlined in the DMCA, the same legal act that governs Google and YouTube's activities.

We are eagerly looking to enter into agreements with all labels and content owners, so that we can work together to the benefit of all parties. To be effective, these agreements, however, must be struck directly with the respective content owners in the boardroom not the courtroom.