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Genius says it caught Google copying lyrics (Update: Google explanation)

Genius embedded morse code in its own lyrics, and this code purportedly showed up in lyrics displayed via Google Search.

Published onJune 18, 2019

The Genius app on the Play Store.

Update, June 18, 2019 (03:35 PM ET): After yesterday’s controversy surrounding Google allegedly scraping lyrics from Genius without authorization, Google has published a blog post in response.

Essentially, Google explains that it does lift lyrics from other third-party platforms with which it has agreements (likely LyricFind, although Google does not reference it by name). The problem here with Genius lyrics appearing in Google search appears to prove that these third-party sites are lifting lyrics from Genius — not Google. Google has asked its third-party partners to investigate this issue.

To help combat this — regardless of who is at fault — Google will introduce attribution text that will show up in lyrics search results to properly credit the source. Google says this new feature will arrive “soon.”

Original article, June 17, 2019 (02:21 AM ET): Genius is probably one of the most popular lyrics websites around, but it says Google is stealing more than just traffic with the search giant’s own lyrics functionality.

The lyrics website told the Wall Street Journal that Google has been using lyrics directly from Furthermore, the website reportedly alerted Google to the infractions in 2017 and again in April.

“Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius,” a website representative told the outlet.

That “irrefutable evidence” is embedded in the lyrics, as Genius uses a specific pattern of straight and curly apostrophes in them. When converted to morse code, the pattern spells “red handed.” It claims that it found over 100 examples of stolen lyrics via this method.

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Google told the Wall Street Journal that lyrics are licensed from partners rather than created by the Mountain View company. The firm later added that it was investigating the issue and would end deals with partners who were “not upholding good practices.”

Google lyrics partner LyricFind has denied that it swiped content from Genius, claiming that it produces lyrics via its own content team. Whatever the case may be, it seems like it took a while for Google to investigate the allegations. What do you make of these claims? Let us know in the comments!

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