The lyric website Genius launched a $50 million lawsuit back in 2019 accusing Google and Canadian lyric sourcing company LyricFind for allegedly misappropriating content from the site. This case has now been dismissed, according to Variety, as New York federal judge Judge Margo K. Brodie sided with Google and LyricFind, claiming that Genius did not have the legal standing to file the lawsuit, as they do not own the rights to the original lyrics.
According to Pitchfork, Brodie reportedly stated that Genius had a “failure to state a claim. Genius first brought forward these accusations back in the summer of 2019, alleging that they discovered the alleged misappropriation through their watermark. Google states that it ensures songwriters are paid for their work, as the platform pays music publishers “for the right to display lyrics, since they manage the rights to these lyrics on behalf of the songwriters.”
This watermark was established around 2016 and reportedly makes apostrophes within lyrics that alternate between two distinct single-quote marks (‘ and ’) throughout the same sequence for each song. When these apostrophes are switched into dots and dashes the watermark reportedly reads “red handed” in Morse Code.
This isn’t the first time both Google and Genius encountered conflicts between one another. For a brief period at the end of 2013 going into 2014, Google excluded the site from its top search results, alleging that Genius “was offering bloggers exposure through its social media accounts in exchange for links to its website on their music blogs.” This decision was eventually reversed at the beginning of 2014, after Genius removed “unnatural links” that the site utilized.