Google Says It Didn’t Scrape Data from Genius

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google with 34 Comments

Two days after the Genius media website accused Google of scraping its song lyric data, the online giant issued a simple retort: We didn’t do it.

“We do not crawl or scrape websites to source [song] lyrics,” Google’s Satyajeet Salgar explains. “The lyrics that you see in information boxes on Search come directly from lyrics content providers, and they are updated automatically as we receive new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis.”

In other words, it was one of Google’s lyric content providers that scraped Genius’s lyrics. Not Google.

“We’ve asked our lyrics partners to investigate the issue to ensure that they’re following industry best practices in their approach,” he continues. “We always strive to uphold high standards of conduct for ourselves and from the partners we work with.”

Google hasn’t named the partner that it suspects of scraping data from Genius.

This incident is an interesting example of the knee-jerk reaction that often occurs in the wake of news stories involving Big Tech. As our own Brad Sams noted, “Google wields a significant amount of power over what and how users see content,” and this alleged lyrics scraping represented “one more piece of evidence of the company potentially abusing its position in the marketplace.”

The assumption by many, of course, was that Google was guilty. But it seems now that it was a Google partner, and not Google, that stole Genius’ data without attribution.

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