The Hubris Behind Google’s Demotion of Rap Genius (Guest Post) | Billboard

by Chris Castle

Rap Genius topped any Google results for practically any lyric search string, so the site was very well-known to music fans. That enviable ranking doesn’t seem dissimilar from search results for Isohunt, the Pirate Bay or Kickass Torrents.

So what was the cardinal sin justifying Google in disappearing Rap Genius? Operating without licenses? No, certainly not that. Openly challenging the music industry? No, not that either.

It would appear Rap Genius did the one thing Google doesn’t permit — it spoke openly about beating Google at its own game. Rap Genius evidently tricked Google’s search algorithm into ranking it higher than the site should have been absent the manipulation. And for this cheeky violation of Google’s rules — not a law — the search giant demonstrated two points in one flex of its dominant muscle.

READ THE FULL STORY AT BILLBOARD:
http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/5869795/the-hubris-behind-googles-demotion-of-rap-genius-guest

Rap Genius Says It Will Seek Licenses for Lyrics | NYT

It’s been an interesting week in the battle over unlicensed lyric websites. These lyric sites, likes music piracy sites earn revenue from advertising but don’t “share” any of that revenue with artists and songwriters. The New York Times reports.

Rap Genius, a website that was accused by music publishers on Monday of reprinting thousands of song lyrics without permission, revealed that it had a major licensing deal all along — and also indicated that the site was likely to pursue more such deals in the future rather than fight with publishers over copyright.

“We want to spend our time building an interesting product and community instead of building a legal case, even though we’re sure it would be interesting,” he said. “We chose to partner up with the music publishers and license the lyrics so we could get on with our work and establish closer ties to songwriters and artists.”

David Israelite, the president of the publishers’ trade association, said of Rap Genius’s deal with Sony/ATV, “I think it proves that what Rap Genius is doing is not fair use, and I am hopeful it is a first step toward becoming a fully licensed site.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/business/media/rap-genius-says-it-will-seek-licenses-for-lyrics.html

In Music Piracy Battles, Lyrics Demand Respect Too | NYT

David Israelite, the president of the trade group, said that his organization was filing take-down notices against what it called the 50 “worst offenders” based on a web search conducted by David Lowery, a researcher at the University of Georgia. Mr. Lowery, best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, has become an outspoken advocate for artists’ rights in the digital age, which has often put him at odds with technology companies large and small.

“These lyric sites have ignored the law and profited off the songwriters’ creative works, and N.M.P.A. will not allow this to continue,” Mr. Israelite said in a statement, referring to his organization. “This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites or the many websites that provide lyrics legally. N.M.P.A. is targeting 50 sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior, which significantly impacts songwriters’ ability to make a living.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/business/media/in-music-piracy-battles-lyrics-demand-respect-too.html