Genius Sues Google and LyricFind for $50 Million Over Stolen Lyrics

Genius Sues Google and LyricFind for $400 Million Over Stolen Lyrics
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Lyrics website Genius has filed a lawsuit against Google and its partner Lyricfind for $50 million, alleging that the companies are copying song lyrics from its site and engaging in anti-competitive practices.

Google often displays song lyrics in response to user search queries, but the company does not maintain this information itself. Instead, it relies on partners like LyricFind to provide it with the lyrics. Earlier this year, Genius accused Google of stealing its lyrics and demonstrated this through a special watermarking scheme that it was using.

Genius alternated straight and curved apostrophes in its lyrics, which would show up verbatim in Google searches. The alternating hashes spelled out “red handed,” proving that Google was copying Genius’s lyrics. Genius then sent a warning letter to Google.

In response to the accusations, Google did not deny the wrongdoing, but it squarely put the blame on LyricFind. LyricFind even admitted that it copied lyrics from Genius, but it insisted that the amount of lyrics copied was “minuscule.”

Genius, however, disagreed with LyricFind’s assertion and filed a lawsuit in a Brooklyn, New York court. The company claims that what Google is doing is a violation of its terms of service and that the company is profiting off the “ten years and tens of millions of dollars” that Genius spent building both its lyric database and its company, which it insists is a form of unfair competition.

In addition to the $50 million, Genius wants the court to permanently prohibit LyricFind from continuing to misappropriate “content from Genius’s website, including the licensing of such content to third parties.”

Interestingly, Genius is not suing for copyright violations because it is not the copyright holder of the lyrics. Both Genius and Google license the lyrics directly from music publishers. While recent court decisions have indicated that scraping data from websites is not necessarily illegal, Genius is basing its lawsuit on the fact that scraping data is a violation of its terms of service.

Genius is not the first company to accuse Google of engaging in anti-competitive practices. The tech giant has faced numerous antitrust investigations and lawsuits in recent years. In 2018, the European Union fined Google $5 billion for antitrust violations in relation to its Android operating system.

Google has also faced criticism for the way it displays search results. Critics argue that Google prioritizes its own services over those of its competitors, giving it an unfair advantage in the market.

The outcome of Genius’s lawsuit could have implications for the way Google and other companies use data from third-party websites. It could also shed light on the issue of anti-competitive practices in the tech industry and the need for stronger regulations to prevent such practices.

In the end, it remains to be seen how the court will rule on Genius’s lawsuit. Whether or not Google and LyricFind are found to be in violation of Genius’s terms of service, the case highlights the importance of transparency and fair competition in the tech industry. As technology continues to shape our lives, it is crucial that we ensure that these powerful companies are held accountable and that consumers are protected from anti-competitive practices.

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