US administration backs Google in song lyrics case at Supreme Court


The US Attorney General for the Biden administration said Tuesday that the US Supreme Court should not review a judgment obtained by Alphabet’s Google LLC against a lyrics website genius for Google’s alleged copying of Genius’ text transcripts.
Lawyer Elizabeth Prelogar said in a brief that the judges should uphold the US Circuit Court’s decision that Genius’ case was barred by federal copyright law.
A Google spokesman said Wednesday that the company does not “search or search websites to find song lyrics” and that “the Attorney General and several courts remain of the opinion that Genius’ claims are unfounded.”
Representatives from Genius and the attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Genie, formerly known as rap geniussued Google in a New York state court in 2019 for allegedly publishing its text transcriptions at the top of Google search results without permission.
Genius does not own any copyrights to the texts, which are usually owned by the artist or publisher. It accused Google of violating its terms of service by stealing his work and reposting it on Google websites.
The 2nd Circuit last year upheld a Manhattan federal court’s decision that Genius’ infringement claims were based on copyright concerns and could only be pursued in a copyright lawsuit.
Genius told the Supreme Court that Google’s victory could allow big tech companies to steal content from websites that aggregate user-generated information, such as Reddit, eBay and Wikipedia, without consequences.
Google said it owned licenses to the lyrics, arguing that Genius wanted to “ignore the real copyright holders and invent new rights through an alleged contract.”
Prelogar on Tuesday criticized the 2nd Circuit’s suggestion that copyright law “categorically” bar contract claims based on a “promise not to copy creative works.”
However, the Attorney General recommended that the petition be dismissed as it was not clear that Genius could prove that it had a valid contract with Google.
Prelogar also said there was “little evidence” that another appellate court would have handled the case differently.

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