Grooveshark slams Universal's copyright lawsuit

Music-sharing site says label's claims are based on a "gross mischaracterization of information."

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Grooveshark.com said today that a lawsuit accusing it of posting copyrighted music is based on a "gross mischaracterization of information."

The comments came in response to a lawsuit filed Friday by Universal Music Group accusing the music-sharing site of posting more than 100,000 pirated songs to its site. The lawsuit identified executives at the company as leading the effort by personally posting thousands of copyrighted songs.

"Universal's claims rest almost entirely on an anonymous, blatantly false Internet blog comment and Universal's gross mischaracterization of information that Grooveshark itself provided to Universal," Marshall Custer, Grooveshark's general counsel, said in a statement. "While Universal has deliberately engaged the media prior to serving a copy of the complaint on Grooveshark, Grooveshark intends to fight this battle before the court, not in the press."

Universal Music representatives could not be reached for comment.

Universal Music, the largest of the top four record companies and home to such artists as Lady Gaga, U2, and Elton John, asked the court to issue a permanent injunction against Grooveshark, which if granted would shut the service down. The label is also seeking the maximum in monetary damages of $150,000 per infringing act. If at least 1,000 of Universal's songs were infringed, the total in damages could be well into the hundreds of millions.

The documents Custer referred to were supplied to Universal Music through the legal discovery process as part of a previous copyright suit against Grooveshark. The label says it found evidence that Samuel Tarantino, Grooveshark's CEO, uploaded at least 1,791 copyrighted songs. Geller allegedly uploaded 3,453 songs, and Benjamin Westermann-Clark, another VP, is accused of uploading more than 4,600 pirated songs.

CNET's Greg Sandoval contributed to this report.