Grooveshark’s Removal from the Android Market: A Change in Policy or Just Business?

Google’s recent move to remove Grooveshark from the Android Market may seem insignificant; however, it’s a sure sign that all app stores need regulation, following Apple, who has been criticized for doing so.  The choice of removing Grooveshark was controversial, it has been accused of violating copyright law, but has not formally faced the court in the matter- they have been sued by a record company, but after agreeing to catalog their items and pay licensing, the charges were dropped.  There was no legal action forcing the Android Market to remove Grooveshark, and unlike the Apple Store’s removal, it was not a direct threat to iTunes, as Android does not have an official music store yet.  Grooveshark has also been on the Market for more than a year.  Google is under increasing pressure- the removal of Grooveshark could have been linked to the congressional hearing on piracy and Google or from the music industry, as Google is planning to open a music store in the coming months.

Grooveshark, located in Gainesville, FL

Grooveshark has reiterated that they are fully DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) compliant, having a specific portion of their website dedicated to reporting copyrighted content that iis not licensed. In addition, they suspend users who upload copyrighted content (only after a complaint) from uploading entirely.

This removal was likely from industry pressure, but Grooveshark is a real company, and not a file-sharing website.  While this does not make their service more-or-less legal, Google felt it was necessary to remove Grooveshark for the good of the platform, as the music industry will become an increasingly important partner of Google. As Google needs more allies, expect Google to be a little more business-like and away from their traditional open-source philosophy.

For rooted and sideload-enabled phones, Grooveshark will surely find a way to install itself on Android, just as they have done with adding Grooveshark to iOS via Cydia, the jailbreak app store. Grooveshark is still alive and running on Palm webOS, Nokia Symbian, and BlackBerry App Stores, and online.