Earlier this week, Google was accused of stealing lyrics from Genius, a song lyrics web site without proper licensing agreement. In response to those accusations, Google said that it “licenses the lyrics text from third parties” and does “not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics” in a blog post on Tuesday. Even then, Google will begin attributing licensed content to its partners.
According to Google, it will “soon include attribution to the third party providing the digital lyrics text.” Normally, Google does not do this when it comes to content it licenses to show in search results. It shows the source of information for features snippets, as well as other forms of content, but this isn’t typical for licensed content. Users and site owners will now no for certain where licensed content was sourced from.
Because “music publishers often don’t have digital copies of the lyrics text,” Google said, “In these cases, we—like music streaming services and other companies—license the lyrics text from third parties.”
According to Google, it licenses this content in order to “ensure that the songwriters are paid for their creative work.” Google wrote, “To do that, we pay music publishers for the right to display lyrics, since they manage the rights to these lyrics on behalf of the songwriters.”
A licensing partner for Google, LyricFind, may actually be the source of the Genius content appearing in the search results.
On the LyricFind website on June 18, an explanation was published saying, “Some time ago, Ben Gross from Genius notified LyricFind that they believed they were seeing Genius lyrics in LyricFind’s database. As a courtesy to Genius, our content team was instructed not to consult Genius as a source. Recently, Genius raised the issue again and provided a few examples. All of those examples were also available on many other lyric sites and services, raising the possibility that our team unknowingly sourced Genius lyrics from another location. As a result, LyricFind offered to remove any lyrics Genius felt had originated from them, even though we did not source them from Genius’ site. Genius declined to respond to that offer. Despite that, our team is currently investigating the content in our database and removing any lyrics that seem to have originated from Genius.”