Google has beat the lawsuit for $50 million (which is around Rs. 373.9 crores) by Genius. Genius is a lyrics transcription website, who filed a case in December last year. According to Genius, Google was scraping lyrics from its website and also proved it by hiding the watermark in Morse code in the lyrics.
In the Eastern District of New York, the general choose to overlook in favour of Google by saying that the scraping did not violate copyright law. So, in the result, Genius was not the copyright holder of the lyrics.
Google Beats $50 Million Lawsuit by Genius Over Scraping Song Lyrics
As per the reports, in December 2019 Genius website claimed that Google is scraping song lyrics from the site. But according to the latest reports by The Hollywood Reporter, it is proved by hiding the phrase “red-handed” which is Morse code in the lyrics. The hidden watermark appeared in the Google search without giving credit to Genius. Then the website took this case to court, and Judge Margo Brodie from New York confirmed the scraping claims. However, the case was dismissed as Genius was not the owner of the lyrics.
All the lyrics which are posted on Genius are owned by the songwriter and musicians, and they hold the copyright law. Even though Genius has allowed the lyrics and adds notes, commentary and explanations but then also it does not have a copyright claim says the court.
Last year in June, in a blog post, Google explained how it sources the lyrics to the songs. Google said it does not scrape websites to get the lyrics. They directly get the lyrics from content providers, and the lyrics are updated automatically as Google gets the new lyrics and corrects it regularly.
The question raised during the anti-trust hearings in US where Congressman Buck raised the issue with Google CEO. At the time of the hearing, Sundar Pichai the CEO said, this issue was between Genius and the company from which Google licensed the data from.
By dismissing the lawsuit, the judge wrote,
“Plaintiff’s (Genius) breach of contract claims is nothing more than claims seeking to enforce the copyright owners’ exclusive rights to protection from unauthorized reproduction of the lyrics and are therefore pre-empted.”
“Plaintiff’s claim is preempted by the Copyright Act because, at its core, it is a claim that Defendants (Google) created an unauthorized reproduction of Plaintiff’s derivative work, which is itself conduct that violates an exclusive right of the copyright owner under federal copyright law.”
Genius tried to remand the case to state court, but the judge dismissed the complaint by saying that there was no legal claim.