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Judge sinks Genius’s lyrics-scraping lawsuit against Google

Last June, Genius accused Google of scraping its song lyrics without permission, and later in the year launched a $50m lawsuit against the tech giant and its partner LyricFind. It hasn’t gone well for Genius: a federal judge has now dismissed the lawsuit.

The Hollywood Reporter has the full ruling, and the gist is… well, it’s complicated. The case has essentially been thrown out because Genius’s claims “are preempted by the Copyright Act”. In other words: publishing lyrics without permission is copyright infringement, but Genius isn’t the copyright owner (that would be publishers).

So (in the ruling’s words) “the case law is clear that only the original copyright owner has exclusive rights to authorize derivative works”.

The judge also dismissed Genius’s claims of a breach of contract and ‘unjust enrichment’ – again, because these are preempted by the Copyright Act. “Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendants engaged in deceptive, unethical, or immoral conduct do not save Plaintiff’s unfair competition claims from preemption.”