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Google Explains How It Licenses Song Lyrics For Search, Will Add Attribution

Over the weekend, Google Search was caught allegedly copying song lyrics from Genius.com. In response, Google published a long explanation of how lyrics in Search work and said that they will add attribution to note which third-party service is supplying the lyrics. 9to5Google reports: When you look up a song in Search, Google often returns a YouTube video with the Knowledge Panel featuring lyrics, links to streaming services, and other artist/album/release/genre info. A query that explicitly asks for “lyrics” will display the full text as the first item at the top of Google.com. The Wall Street Journal over the weekend reported on an accusation that Search was taking content from Genius. According to Google today, it does “not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics.” When available, Google will pay music publishers for the right to display lyrics. However, in most cases, publishers do not have digital transcripts, with the search engine instead turning to third-party “lyrics content providers.”

Google today reiterated that it’s asking partners to “investigate the issue,” with the third-party — and not Google directly — likely at fault for scraping Genius content. Meanwhile, Knowledge Panels in Search will soon gain attribution to note who is supplying digital lyrics text. “Google today reiterated that it’s asking partners to ‘investigate the issue,’ with the third-party — and not Google directly — likely at fault for scraping Genius content,” Google said in a blog post. “Meanwhile, Knowledge Panels in Search will soon gain attribution to note who is supplying digital lyrics text.”


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