Genius not looking so smart after Google escapes liability for ‘misappropriating’ lyrics

For many, it was another example of how Google abused its power. The court’s conclusions are not the case.

Last December, Genius (.pdf) sued Google and partner LyricFind in the New York State Court for allegedly misusing letters from its website. He accused the two of breach of contract, unfair competition, and other charges. The case was procedurally transferred to federal court based on the theory that it was a “secret” copyright case, as required by state law.

Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction under federal law.

They give “no less than $ 50 million”. The state’s original lawsuit reads: “The accused of Google LLC and LyricFind were caught abusing the content of the Genius website, which they use and continue to use for their own financial gain and to the detriment of Genius.” not “less than $ 50 million, including, but not limited to, the loss of licenses and advertising revenue.”

The controversy and the case were discussed in detail last year. Genius used a clever “watermark” strategy to steal text “by law” from LyricFind and Google.

At the time, LyricFind admitted that it had Genius maps in its database, which were displayed on Google OneBox. Google defended itself referring to LyricFind: “We asked our partner SMS to investigate the matter and ensure that it follows industry best practices in its approach. We always strive to maintain high standards of conduct.” “

Apparently bad behavior. It was clear to many inexperienced observers that there was misconduct on the part of one or both companies. The controversy also resonated in many, reaching broader stories about Google’s market power and publisher frustrations with click-free results.

Here’s Genius, who spent a lot of time and money developing his text database, presumably with no traffic and revenue, a topic many offended publishers identify with. The problem was that Genius had no rights to the lyrics he transcribed and performed, despite the legal license of the music publishers.

The music publishers owned the lyrics, not Genius, who created a “derivative work” under the copyright law. The company may have had complaints under state law. But the court ruled that all of these requests are required by federal law because they were, in effect, the plaintiff’s journey. And they went away; and because he was unable to file a complaint under federal law, the entire case was closed.

Because we care.

 Although the case was decided in Google’s favor, it was mentioned in subsequent hearings in Washington last week. And that certainly contributed to the perception that Google is very powerful. A similar concern was the revision of the European copyright law in 2018, which now generates revenue from news publishers’ search licenses. The difference is that European publishers are actually copyright holders, unlike Genius.

In fact, copyright ownership is the major factor in Genius’s defeat. And the question likely means that the copyright holders who own the licensed content have no legal means if search engines or third parties simply want to discard their content from the wholesaler.

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