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Genius loses lawsuit against Google for allegedly stealing song lyrics

Genius Media Group has lost their lawsuit against Google and LyricFind, the company which provides song lyrics when searched on Google.

The suit was originally filed in December last year, which saw Genius accusing Google of “misappropriating content from Genius’s website” and using it “for [Google’s] own financial benefit and Genius’s financial detriment”. Genius had sought at least $50million in damages from Google and LyricFind.

In a new development reported by Variety, Judge Margo K. Brodie of the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York sided with the defendants and dismissed the lawsuit.

Brodie ruled that since Genius did not own the copyright nor rights to the original lyrics, the company were not in a position to sue. “The case law is clear that only the original copyright owner has exclusive rights to authorize derivative works,” she reportedly wrote in the decision.

Brodie also noted that Genius failed to “allege breach of contract claims that are qualitatively different from federal copyright claims”, and dismissed the lawsuit for “failure to state a claim”, denying the company’s motion to escalate the case to state court.

Genius originally accused Google and LyricFind of stealing lyrics in June last year, when the company claimed a watermark system was in place to protect its lyrics.

The watermark reportedly makes apostrophes within lyrics alternate between straight and slanted single-quote marks in the same sequence for every song. When they are converted to dots and dashes, the symbols spell “red handed” in Morse code.