The RIAA – on behalf of UMG, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic and Capitol Records – has filed a lawsuit against Aurous and its founder Andrew Sampson for what it calls “wilful and egregious copyright infringement”. It appears the recorded music sector’s trade body will look to shut down the site using injunctive relief, and seek actual or statutory damages. We first noted Aurous on the 1709 blog back in September. The trade group said in a statement: “This service is a flagrant example of a business model powered by copyright theft on a massive scale. Like Grokster, Limewire or Grooveshark, it is neither licensed nor legal. We will not allow such a service to wilfully trample the rights of music creators”.
An injunction then followed on Thursday (15.10.15) ordering Aurous founder Andrew Sampson to halt further distribution of the app. The injunction is a “temporary restraining order”, and shortly after receiving it Sampson announced on Twitter that “Aurous downloads have been suspended until further notice” and he appointed a legal team. This in turn was followed by news that Aurous had seemingly released the ‘back-end’ source code to the app on Github, announcing on social media that the venture was now an open-source project that anyone else could take on. This prompted record label fury, and the release the RIAA said, “flagrantly violated” the court order banning the distribution of the app, and “in the most damaging way possible”. As this Update was finalised, Aurous representatives said the release of the code was a ‘mistake’ and was of an old version: Sampson’s lawyers reportedly said: “Our clients are willing to transfer control of the Aurous domain and anything else you [RIAA] may require”, including closing the site and all operations, provide access to their Github and social media accounts, if the RIAA would agree to settle and call off the litigation. One commentator said “Aurous could prove to be the shortest chapter in the weighty tome documenting the record industry’s fight against online piracy”.