Genius has accused Google of plagiarizing song lyrics. The publication accuses the search engine of stealing song lyrics and publishing them in search results.
According to CNN, Genius, which transcribes and analyzes song lyrics, says “Google (GOOGL) has been stealing the lyrics of some songs for the past few years.” This allegedly breaks Genius’ terms of service, “siphoning off traffic.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that a Genius employee spotted the first instanceof stealing back in 2016. Genius says that Google used their lyrics version of Desiigner’s record “Panda,” which is described as “hard to decipher.” Desiigner himself transcribed the song’s lyrics for the publication.
The publication’s developers alternated the lyrics’ apostrophes between straight and curly, to prove Google was stealing their content. Genius contacted Google in 2017 and in April when they tested the theory and caught the engine plagiarizing. “When the apostrophes were converted into Morse code, it spelled out the phrase “red-handed.”
Ben Gross, Chief Strategy Officer at Genius, said in a statement to CNN, “Google displays lyrics from Genius’ website in order to keep users from leaving Google to go to other sites.” He continued on stating it being “clearly unfair and anticompetitive.”
A Google spokesperson responded to the situation in a statement, “The lyrics displayed in information boxes on Google Search are licensed from a variety of sources and are not scraped from sites on the web.”
They concluded, “We take data quality and creator rights very seriously, and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement.”