Music Site Genius Sues Google Over Alleged Lyric Copying

More than two years later, Genius alleges in its lawsuit that Google and its partner, LyricFind, "continue to exploit content misappropriated from Genius's website while apparently attempting to hide that misappropriation".

Genius later found Google displaying copies of those same watermarked lyrics in the company's search results.Specifically, the copied lyrics appeared in "information panels" that pop up as the first result when you look up a song.

"Defendants Google LLC and LyricFind have been caught red-handed misappropriating content from Genius's website, which they have exploited-and continue to exploit-for their own financial benefit."
That's when the lyrics site says it first accused Google of displaying its content in search results without permission.

Google declined to comment on the Genius lawsuit, referring to blog post from June in which it said it licenses lyrics content from third-party providers. The same lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction against LyricFind from lifting song lyrics from Genius.

Writing in a blog post in response to that piece, LyricFind argued that the lyrics it uses are taken from multiple sources before being edited, corrected and then published.

LyricFind also released a statement that day suggesting it may have "unknowingly sourced Genius lyrics from another location".

LyricFind also pointed out that "Genius themselves have no ownership of the lyric rights - music publishers and songwriters do". About 43% of the modified lyrics, including the hidden message, subsequently showed up in Google searches from October-December 2018, according to Genius.

Genius figured out that its lyrics were being lifted, explained the WSJ over the summer, because it inserted a sequence of punctuation into its lyrics that spelled out "Red Handed" when converted to Morse code.

Brooklyn-based Genius filed the lawsuit Tuesday (Dec. 3) in New York State Supreme Court in Kings County.

The suit reads: "One of Genius's primary services is the development and maintenance of a vast repository of annotated music lyrics, some of which are artist-supplied and many of which are transcribed and refined by a community of over two million Genius contributors".

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