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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019

Lyrics website Genius accuses Google of copying its content

Genius Media says it used Morse code to catch Google ‘red handed’.

tech Updated: Jun 17, 2019 10:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times accuses Google of scraping its song lyrics accuses Google of scraping its song lyrics (REUTERS)

Genius Media, a popular song lyrics platform, has accused Google of stealing its content and publishing directly in search results. Google, however, has denied the allegation saying results are sourced from licensing partners.

Launched in 2009, Genius is one of the biggest song lyrics platforms. It claims to have over 2 million contributors, editors and musicians. is also said to have the largest music database with over 25 million songs, albums, artists, and annotations.

Google added song lyrics to its search in 2014. The company had then teamed up with LyricFind website.

Genius said Google had been copying and displaying its content in search results for years, hurting the website’s traffic.

Genius Chief Strategy Office Ben Gross told The Verge that the company has “shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius in their Lyrics OneBox. This is a serious issue, and Google needs to address it.”

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Genius also revealed how they caught Google “red handed.”

In early 2016, Genius started to make some minor changes in their song lyrics’ apostrophes – shuffling between straight and curly single-quote marks in a particular sequence.

“When the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words ‘Red Handed’,” Genius told the Wall Street Journal.

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Google denied Genius’ allegations but promised to take action against the partners not “upholding good practices.”

“The lyrics displayed in the information boxes and in Knowledge Panels on Google Search are licensed from a variety of sources and are not scraped from sites on the web. We take data quality and creator rights very seriously, and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement. We’re investigating this issue with our data partners and if we find that partners are not upholding good practices we will end our agreements,” said Google in a statement.

First Published: Jun 17, 2019 10:47 IST

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