Biden Administration Backs Google nasdaq Goog in Copyright Dispute with Genius

Biden Administration Backs Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) in Copyright Dispute with Genius

The U.S. Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, has stated that the U.S. Supreme Court should not review a ruling favoring Google’s parent company, Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG), in a copyright dispute against Genius, an American digital media company. The case alleges Google copied Genius’ lyric transcriptions without permission.

In a legal document filed on Tuesday, Prelogar recommended that the judges endorse the decision issued by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This court concluded that Genius’ case was overruled by federal copyright law.

Genius, previously named Rap Genius, took legal action against Google in a New York state court in 2019. Genius claimed that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) had displayed its lyric transcriptions at the top of search results without permission. Although Genius does not own the copyrights to the lyrics, it accused Google of violating its terms of service and appropriating its work on Google webpages.

The 2nd Circuit agreed with the Manhattan federal court’s ruling last year, which said that Genius’ breach-of-contract claims were fundamentally based on copyright concerns and could only be pursued through a copyright lawsuit.

Genius warned the Supreme Court that if Google wins, it might allow other big tech companies like Reddit, eBay, and Wikipedia to take content from websites that collect user-generated information without any consequences.

Google claimed to have licenses for the song lyrics and argued that Genius is trying to create new rights and ignore the original copyright owners through a supposed contract.

On Tuesday, Prelogar disagreed with the 2nd Circuit’s view that copyright law entirely prohibits contract claims related to promises not to copy creative works.

The solicitor general advised against accepting the petition because it wasn’t clear if Genius could provide sufficient evidence of having a valid contract with Google. Prelogar also mentioned that there were very few signs suggesting that another appeals court would have dealt with the case in a different way.

Genius lawyer Josh Rosenkranz stated on Wednesday that a strong disagreement exists among courts regarding “whether and when a breach of contract claims are preempted.” He underscored that not only is reviewing the case necessary, but it is also urgent.

In response, a spokesperson from Google stated that they did not collect lyrics by scanning websites and dismissed Genius’ claims as baseless or without merit.