Genius sued Google over alleged stolen lyrics

CREDIT Courtesy of Genius

Now, the company has filed a lawsuit against Google for the same matter.

In its lawsuit, Genius said it estimated that approximately 40% of lyrics for new music displayed in Google's search results feature lyrics "that are being unlawfully misappropriated from Genius's website".

Music website Genius has slapped a lawsuit on tech giant Google for $50 million in combined minimum damages for copying its lyrics.

In June, a Wall Street Journal article suggested that Google had been publishing lyrics taken directly from Genius. Although these allegations went down back in June, it's only now that Genius have moved ahead with legal action against Google LLC, claiming that the search engine overlords were "repeatedly confronted by Genius with incontrovertible evidence regarding their conduct", but that they "assigned blame elsewhere but otherwise continued their unlawful behavior".

The question will be whether the Genius deal to publish lyrics allows the company to actually own the copy of the lyrics it publishes.

In court filing obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Genius explained that it watermarked its lyrics with a series of apostrophes in patterns that spelled out words like "REDHANDED" in Morse code.

So, this is not just a lawsuit about whether lyrics have been misappropriated or not: it's also bringing in anti-competition issues ("Genius is placed at an unfair competitive disadvantage in the market for the licensing and display of lyrics...") to spice things up. At the time, the company said it would use watermarks to prove it.

Fast Company has contacted Google for comment on the lawsuit.

We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics.

Google says it actually licenses the song lyrics from LyricFind, which relies on multiple sources to pull the text. LyricFind also made a decision to remove lyrics that Genius accused them of copying while insisting that the lyrics weren't sourced from Genius' site. Genius says that Google's behaviour, besides violating its terms of service agreement, has profited from "ten years and tens of millions of dollars".

The Verge also reported that Genius' case might not be strong, but Google still can't let their guards down.