Genius Media accuses Google of stealing their lyrics. Google immediately denies it.

Genius Media recently accused Google of stealing their lyrics. They say they watermark their lyrics and have found that watermark

The company has accused Google of not only hurting its traffic with its lyrics cards, but of sometimes grabbing Genius’ lyrics verbatim. The evidence is in the apostrophes, Genius said. It purposefully alternated between straight and curved apostrophes as a form of watermarking (they typically spell out “red handed” in Morse code), and there were reportedly over 100 instances where Google’s lyrics included those exact apostrophes.

Google immediately replied with How we help you find lyrics in Google Search, in which they state:

We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics. The lyrics that you see in information boxes on Search come directly from lyrics content providers, and they are updated automatically as we receive new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis.

News reports this week suggested that one of our lyrics content providers is in a dispute with a lyrics site about where their written lyrics come from. We’ve asked our lyrics partner to investigate the issue to ensure that they’re following industry best practices in their approach. We always strive to uphold high standards of conduct for ourselves and from the partners we work with.

To help make it clearer where the lyrics come from, we’ll soon include attribution to the third party providing the digital lyrics text. We will continue to take an approach that respects and compensates rights-holders, and ensures that music publishers and songwriters are paid for their work. 

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