Genius Sues Google for 'No Less Than $50 Million'

Lula Sharp
December 5, 2019

As the Verge reports, this lawsuit is tricky because neither Genius nor Google owns the copyrights to the song lyrics they're publishing.

Genius has filed a lawsuit against Google alleging that the tech giant copied lyrics from its song-annotation platform. Genius are claiming that traffic to their website has dropped because their lyrics are being published by Google who have the power to prioritise the search results.

In addition to monetary damages, the Genius told entitled to a permanent injunction against LyricFind, "prohibit the continued misappropriation Genius content from the site, including the content licenses to third parties, such as Google".

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"It is highly unlikely that another source of lyrics would be a character-for-character match-including punctuation, contractions, and line breaks-with lyrics appearing on Genius's website, without having been copied from Genius's website". It was at this time when Genius observed that the lyrics results were often inaccurate.

When the company first revealed the matter in June, it had alleged that Google has been doing this for a while and has not taken any action despite receiving multiple complaints from them since 2017. "We've asked our lyrics partner to investigate the issue to ensure they're following industry best practices in their approach", Satyajeet Salgar, a Group Product Manager for Google, wrote in a blog post. This all relates to Genius" accusation in June that Google was serving up some lyrics in its "OneBox" search results that had been lifted from Genius - detected by the latter using alternating straight and curved apostrophes in its transcriptions, spelling out "red handed' in Morse code.

In its own blog post about the spat, LyricFind said the allegedly purloined lyrics were also available on other lyric sites and services, "raising the possibility that our team unknowingly sourced Genius lyrics from another location". "Speaking to Gizmodo back in June, however, Genius' chief strategy officer Ben Gross said, "[Google] have known about this for two years and it's clearly unfair and anticompetitive". After the Journal article was published, Google stopped surfacing lyrics with Genius's original watermark, according to the lawsuit.

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