Google faces $50 million lawsuit from Genius for stealing lyrics

They've been accused of "misappropriating content".

Google is facing a $50 million lawsuit from Genius, after it was accused of stealing lyrics from the popular website.

Genius, which is known for crowd-sourcing the lyrics to songs from listeners and artists, has accused Google of “misappropriating content from Genius’s website” and then using it “for [Google’s] own financial benefit and Genius’s financial detriment.”

It comes after Google and LyricFind, the company which provides the words to songs when users search them on Google, was first accused of stealing lyrics in June.


The lawsuit sees Genius aiming to secure at least $50 million to “recover damages” from the alleged copying, while also attempting to “halt [Google’s] unethical and unfair anticompetitive practices.”.

In June, Genius claimed that a watermark system was in place to protect its lyrics, which had been subsequently spotted in numerous lyric listings provided by Google.

The watermark reportedly makes apostrophes within lyrics alternate between straight and slanted single-quote marks in the same sequence for every song. When they are then converted to dots and dashes, they fittingly spell “red handed”.

“Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius,” Ben Gross, Genius’s chief strategy officer told the WSJ.


While Google vowed to tackle the issue with LyricFind, Genius’s lawsuit now claims that the site has vowed to clean up its act while “continuing to exploit content misappropriated from Genius’ website.” 

In addition, Genius also claims that alleges that Google is now “attempting to conceal [its] misappropriation.”

“We do not source lyrics from Genius,” LyricFind Chief Executive Darryl Ballantyne told the Wall Street Journal in a new statement.

“We have not had any contact with Genius since June, and in fact, have not even been served with the complaint,” Ballantyne told Pitchfork in a statement. “From what we’re reading online, it is completely frivolous and without merit.”

Google is yet to respond.