Google has beaten a lawsuit by Genius Media Group over the claims that it was the allegedly scraping song lyrics from the site. A federal judge in the Eastern District of New York dismissed the lawsuit stating that while the claims of scraping were credible, it did not constitute a copyright violation as the lyrics company wasn’t the original copyright holder of the lyrics. To give you some context, Genius filed a lawsuit against Google in December 2019 alleging that the company was lifting lyrics off its platform. This means if someone were to search for ‘Photograph lyrics’ on Google Search, Google instead of taking them to Genius would natively show the lyrics which it took from Genius’ website.
Earlier last year, Google put out a blog post explaining how it sourced lyrics to songs. In its post, the company said that it did not scrape websites to source these lyrics that they were provided by the lyrics content providers. The company also said that it will updated the lyrics automatically as it received a new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis. Genius demonstrated its claim by cleverly placing a text watermark ‘red handed’ into its lyrics entries by using Morse code apostrophes. Subsequently, Google was caught red-handed, which proved Genius’ allegations.
According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Judge Margo Brodie while dismissing the lawsuit said that Genius isn’t the actual copyright holder of the song lyrics. Those belong to the musicians who wrote them and the publishers. The judge said that though Genius effectively licences the lyrics that doesn’t give it the necessary copyright claim over the lyrics. “Plaintiff’s breach of contract claims are nothing more than claims seeking to enforce the copyright owners’ exclusive rights to protection from unauthorized reproduction of the lyrics and are therefore preempted,” the judge wrote.