Google any song lyric and chances are RapGenius will be at the top of the crop. But now the self-funded lyrics site, which snagged a $15 million investment deal last year, is one of 50 sites that the National Music Publishers Association is looking to shut down due to copyright infringement.
According to Billboard, the NMPA has said that they issued take-down notices to the sites as identified by an October report by University of Georgia researcher David Lowery, demanding that they obtain licenses or remove the copyrighted lyrics from their websites.
David Israelite, Chief Executive of the NMPA, said the association was looking to take down commercial, not fan, sites. "This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally," he said. "[The NMPA] is targeting fifty sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior."
Rap Genius Co-Founder Ilan Zechory says that his New York company had not received the notice and argues that RG is "so much more than a lyrics site!"
"The lyrics sites the NMPA refers to simply display song lyrics, while Rap Genius has crowdsourced annotations that give context to all the lyrics line by line, and tens of thousands of verified annotations directly from writers and performers," he said.
Zechory continued, "Furthermore, music is only a small part of what we do. Rap Genius is an interactive encyclopedia for annotation of all texts - anyone can upload and annotate texts relating to music, news, literature, religion, science, their personal lives, or anything else they want."
See the full list of sites targeted here.
Photo Credit: VIBE/ Sumner Dilworth