Genius later found Google displaying copies of those same watermarked lyrics in the company's search results.Specifically, the copied lyrics appeared in "information panels" that pop up as the first result when you look up a song. The lawsuit seeks at least $50 million in damages from Google and LyricFind.
"Defendants Google LLC and LyricFind have been caught red-handed misappropriating content from Genius's website, which they have exploited - and continue to exploit - for their own financial benefit and to Genius's financial detriment", according to the lawsuit, filed December 3.
"Defendants Google LLC and LyricFind have been caught red-handed misappropriating content from Genius's website, which they have exploited-and continue to exploit-for their own financial benefit."
In the suit, which first reported by Wall Street Journal, Genius claims that the lyric licensing company LyricFind pulled lyrics from Genius' pages, and that Google used those lyrics in its search result displays.
The company behind Lyrics website Genius, Genius Media Group Inc., is suing Google for "unethical, unfair and anticompetitive" behaviour. In addition to monetary damages, Genius is seeking injunctions against Google and LyricFind to bar them from misappropriating its content.
In its own blog post about the spat, LyricFind said the allegedly purloined lyrics were also available on other lyric sites and services, "raising the possibility that our team unknowingly sourced Genius lyrics from another location".
Genius figured out that its lyrics were being lifted, explained the WSJ over the summer, because it inserted a sequence of punctuation into its lyrics that spelled out "Red Handed" when converted to Morse code. But Genius says it put in time and money ("ten years and tens of millions of dollars") toward building up "a platform for music enthusiasts who transcribe music lyrics", and it's accusing Google and LyricFind of taking that work, deterring people who search for song lyrics from visiting Genius's website.