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Google accused of unlawfully copying song lyrics

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San Francisco: Genius Media, a US-based digital media company that specialises in song lyrics, has accused Google of copying their work to display in its Search results for years without permission and has asked the search-engine giant to address the situation.

According to Genius Media, the lyrics that Google displays alongside any usual information about a particular song on Search are picked up from the company’s work.

“The company has shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius in their Lyrics OneBox. This is a serious issue and Google needs to address it,” The Verge reported Ben Gross, Chief Strategy Officer at Genius Media as saying on Sunday.

Launched in 2009, Genius Media describes itself as a “platform for annotating clever rap lyrics” and has since expanded into other types of music as well.

As part of its investigation, the site used a series of alternating straight and curved apostrophes in its lyrics to form a type of watermark and as per their plan, converting the patterns into Morse code revealed the words “Red Handed”.

However, in defence, the search-engine giant confirmed that any information displayed in its search results are licensed from various sources.

“The company is investigating this issue with our data partners and if we find that partners are not upholding good practices we will end our agreements,” the report quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.

According to other media reports, Google has claimed that the lyrics its Search displays alongside any song being searched is sourced from a third-party called LyricFind Inc.

The company LyricFind also denied that it borrowed song lyrics from Genius Media, the report said.

The accusation on Google comes shortly after reports surfaced that the US Department of Justice is preparing to open a case against the tech giant for potential anti-trust violations, thus, putting scrutiny on the tech giant amid a growing chorus of criticism about the power of Big Tech

Earlier in March, European Union’s (EU) anti-trust regulators on Wednesday fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

Later in May, India joined EU when its antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered an investigation into Google’s aggressive push to Android that seems like a block-technique against its rivals.

(IANS)