In the current situation, there is less of an issue of Intellectual Property Rights (namely copyright) due to the fact Genius does not own the rights. The issue at hand actually concerns the redirection of users from Genius to Google’s own platform as the snippet provided contains the majority of the information is using.

Showing a diversion of search traffic and a potential loss of revenue for Genius is arguably an abuse of a dominant position by Google to promote its own offering of services and in effect de-prioritising its competitors such as Genius. Alphabet has continuously been evading the actions of the competition and anti-trust authorities globally, and it will be interesting to follow whether this is the nail in the coffin for the break-up of the Tech giant.

Article 15 (previously Article 11) of the EU Copyright Directive, provides the protection of press publications in online uses. From a limited interpretation of this right, Genius would not be considered a press publisher and therefore not provided protection under this right.

This right is also only available to those established in an EU Member State, and as an American company, this would exclude Genius from this protection. However, as a Directive, it is up to the individual Member States to implement the Directive, which serves as a minimum of rights that is required to be implemented. Therefore, it is possible a Member State can extend these rights to include companies such as Genius – but the likelihood of this would be low.

The principles set by Art 15 of the EU Copyright Directive are applicable in the sense there are comparisons to be drawn between the two scenarios. Should the press publications right (Art 15) be a successful implemented right, it is likely the snippets that search engines provide in results across all of their offerings will soon be scrutinised.

Ironically, the tactics Genius has used to identify this activity by Google was used by themselves previously to accuse Bing of stealing their search results, and has roots dating back to the 1930s to prevent the copycatting of maps.

The comment below is provided on behalf of Tosshan Ramgolam, Brand Advisor at Incopro

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