The top site for lyrics is going after the world’s biggest search engine for “unethical, unfair and anti-competitive” behaviour.
Google have allegedly been taking lyrics from Genius’ website to use and push in search results via their own lyric’s partner, LyricFind. 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.
Genius’ website is a favourite among lyrics searchers, providing annotations from users and sometimes artists/writers themselves explaining the meanings or delving into the stories behind particular lines. After the Wall Street Journal published an article that suggested Google were taking lyrics from the website, the company are now seeking legal action.
LyricFind responded at the time, arguing that their lyrics come from multiple sources before being edited, corrected, and published. They said they may have unknowingly sourced lyrics from Genius, but “offered to remove any lyrics Genius felt had originated from them, even though we did not source them from Genius’ site”.
LyricFind wrote: “Some time ago, Ben Gross from Genius notified LyricFind that they believed they were seeing Genius lyrics in LyricFind’s database. As a courtesy to Genius, our content team was instructed not to consult Genius as a source. Recently, Genius raised the issue again and provided a few examples.”
Genius are now moving forward with a lawsuit that was filed in New York on December 3rd. They are seeking “no less than $50 million” in “combined minimum damages” from both Google and LyricFind.
Their suit states the following:
“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.
“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 and to Genius’s financial detriment.
“This action seeks to halt Defendants’ unethical and unfair anti-competitive practices, as well as to recover damages for violations of Genius’s Terms of Service as a result of defendants’ misappropriation.”