RapGenius.com Among Sites Targeted Over Use Of Lyrics

The National Music Publishers Association has sent take-down notices to 50 lyrics sites, including Rap Genius.

The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) sent 50 sites take-down notices today (November 11) requesting lyrics sites to either obtain licenses to publish lyrics or remove copyright lyrics from their sites, according to billboard.com.

RapGenius.com, which added Nas as an advisor in 2012, was among the sites targeted by the NMPA, according to the story, even though Rap Genius Co-Founder Ilan Zechory said his company had not heard from the NMPA, as per billboard.com.

“We can't wait to have a conversation with them about how all writers can participate in and benefit from the Rap Genius knowledge project," Zechory says, according to billboard.com. “Rap Genius 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. These layers of context and meaning transform a static, flat lyric page into an interactive, vibrant art experience created by a community of volunteer scholars. 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."

“Rap Genius is your guide to the meaning of rap, R&B, and soul lyrics,” Rap Genius says In the “About Rap Genius” section of its site. “You can listen to songs, read their lyrics, and click lines that interest you for pop-up annotations – we have thousands of canonical rap songs annotated. From the legendary 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z, to new stars like Vic Mensa and Lil B, we’ve got you covered. Our aim is to critique rap as poetry..”

David Israelite, Chief Executive of the NMPA, said to billboard.com that his organization is targeting commercial websites.

"This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally," Israelite said. The NMPA "is targeting 50 sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior," he said.

Israelite said that the take-down notices are a precursor to filing copyright infringement lawsuits against the sites, something that would likely be done if they were to continue to publish song lyrics that they don't have the licenses to, billboard.com says.

NMPA has had success in similar legal cases. Last year, the NMPA, on behalf of Warner Chappell Music, Peermusic and Bug Music, won a $6.6 million judgement against LiveUniverse, a company that operated unlicensed lyrics sites, as per billboard.com. In 2010, the NMPA also sued and won a suit against Motive Force, a company that operated LyricWiki. NMPA received an undisclosed amount of "funds associated with the exploitation of the unauthorized content," billboard.com's story says.

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  • Joe Joiner

    Yo you know whats crazy, none of the artist are protesting to get these sites, taken down its the fuckin labels, motherfuckers act like they created the music or something. Its a damn shame most rappers dont own their own masters.

  • Anonymous

    We never had lyric sites back in the day, you just listened to the music and soaked it in...

  • Anonymous

    up to I saw the receipt which was of $7046, I didn't believe that...my... brothers friend woz like realy bringing home money parttime from there pretty old laptop.. there mums best friend haz done this 4 less than twenty months and by now repayed the mortgage on their place and got a brand new Mercedes-Benz S-class. This Site... www.Fb39.Com spoken like a true outsider, probably a lil white kid from the burbs he cant understand a rap song without someone breaking it down line by line for him with pretty pictures and videos LMAO

  • Cealix

    I think a lot of you don't even know how RG works. Yes, anyone can explain the meaning behind a line/bar/phrase, but not everything gets accepted. Even Nas himself is an Verified Artist on that site because even he knows 90% of his fans doesn't understand every single bar he puts out, especially since he explains the back stories and people you've never heard of.

    • Anonymous

      that makes it even worse if multiple people are reviewing the shit and its still blatantly wrong

    • Cealix

      Then how about correcting them? I'd say most of the explanations that haven't been approved yet are reviewed by multiple people before accepted or denied.

    • Anonymous

      ive seen so many wrong explanations on there. shit im a white guy from canada and that website is a joke

  • Anonymous

    white kids from the burbs are gonna be bummed out if this gets taken down yall are gonna have to go find token black friends to break that shit down you

  • jake

    lmao a lot of retards on this sight rapgenius.com breaks lyrics down for songs you probably wouldn't get just listening to it because of the level of lyricism and creativity that go into the songs the people who reply to comments talking shit here probably listen to garbage rappers like Lil Wayne he says ridiculously simple metaphors that anyone could come up with and it requires 0 lyricism that's why he lies and says he never rights anything down so people don't think hes complete garbage even though that ship sailed along time ago

    • Anonymous

      rapgenius is less legit than wikipedia. anyone can edit that shit and call it true. theres so many blatant mistakes and wrong interpretations for songs its really only good for a laugh!

  • Doubl Negative

    Never heard of this site, and can't see its purpose. You don't need subtitles when watching homegrown cinema/TV, unless you're foreign or hard of hearing, and the same should apply when listening to music. As Doom said, "...who ain't get it, ain't supposed to."

  • Anonymous

    fucking american music industry, pretty sad when all the artists are on board and fine with this but as soon as the suits who contribute absolutely nothing to music other than a "label" dont receive checks, suddenly theirs "copyright" infringement issues, fuck you man straight up never paying for music again.

  • RR

    It would be a bummer if rapgenius went away; that site is a great companion to when you first buy/download a new album...I always have that site fired up when I listen to a new album for the first time and follow along with the lyrics/meaning...

    • Anonymous

      they need bouncing ball sing-a-longs to learn a rap verse, lol

    • Anonymous

      spoken like a true outsider, probably a lil white kid from the burbs he cant understand a rap song without someone breaking it down line by line for him with pretty pictures and videos LMAO

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  • xx009


  • Anonymous

    I'm curious...Who are these people who make up National Music Publishers Association?

  • Eugene

    That's dumb as f***! Though I'm from Russia, I enjoy listening to rap/hip-hop/R&B. That's so freaking amazing to dig into the piles of lyrics and discover meanings beyond what I can hear from songs, cuz' y'know, it's kinda hard for an outsider. I have been studying English for 15 years, and rapgenius helps me to widen my language skills. These Jews...always keep one eye up on someone's money

  • Truth

    What happened to the golden days when artists used to include lyrics with the CD, most of these rap artists rap so fast you can even hear what they are saying. I think sites that provide lyrics are good because some of us can actually understand what the artist is trying to say.

    • Anonymous

      people dont buy cds though

    • triPAUD

      that's true. that alone makes this all ridiculous. If the lyrics were guaranteed to be in the linernotes, or guaranteed when you buy the track online, then this would be fair, but they aren't. What's illegal about this? you aren't getting the music itself. How do you pay for songwriting alone, w/o execution.

  • amaterasu

    Jews fighting over the right to exploit blacks. It sounds familiar.

  • Rob

    RapGenius is a joke anyway... what could have been something great for rap has turned into just another blogger ran pile of sh*t

  • Anonymous

    Rap Genius is dope

  • Dol

    "i got better things to do than translate lyrics for kids who are too dumb to listen critically and interpret the meaning of songs on their own" ---i like this

    • Drama

      But sites like Rapgenius.com can help foreign people, who want get to know about what these rappers are talkin' about.

  • Anonymous

    It should be taken down a site that allows people who have no association with the project to give a "exact meaning" of the lyric


    next: lets take down all the rap blogs/website/worldstar. Just watch!

  • Lol

    nas is that fools card lame blacks pull out when they get dumb



  • Anonymous2

    Emimen's album gets leaked on site and looks what materializes from that. They gettin exposed and they gotta pay up to stay up.


    The guy suing is called David Israelite them jews stay lookin money. Whats the point rap genius is for info y they fuckin with them it comes in handy sumtimes

    • 6x

      Try checking out the website before you talk out of your ass; Rap Genius has no advertisements

    • Anonymous

      because RG has advertisements on their site and are making a profit from those lyrics. It's blatantly using copyrighted material to earn money. They should have seen this lawsuit coming

  • Anonymous

    It doesn't seem to me that these sites infringe upon the ability to earn income. I haven't seen a poor pop artist, or popular hip hop artist. They all have gold teeth or expansive cars. So I don't get it.

  • Anonymous

    An artist's lyrics just another copyrighted item, that the artist (or label representing them) has full control over. If sites publish an artist's lyrics without their permission or consent, they are fair game for lawsuits. Educate yourselves people. Nothing new here.

    • JT

      I always love the 'Youre all wrong' guy on the internet. Act like they're some all knowing being on the subject berating everyone's replies; but never actually contributing themselves.

    • Anonymous

      This is the problem you regular people trying to understand the music business stick to your own business whatever that may be not relating to music..all replies are wrong

    • BadJet_413

      They are still acknowledging the artist. No harm here.

    • Anonymous

      The audio is copyrighted, not the words. You're allowed to type those words as long as credit is given to the author.

    • Anonymous

      False. If they are used in an educational manner and not sold for profit there is no violation. Educate yourself, the law has many exceptions.

  • Anonymous

    rapgenius are a bunch of trust fund baby culture vultures

  • balle733

    I hope the site folds. Half of the rap lyrics they are wrong anyway. its so annoying.

  • Anonymous

    Rap Genius > any lyric site ever created. Artists support rap genius, and they have to petition this shit.

    • Anonymous

      It's more than Nas, it's the large majority of currently relevant rappers so I don't know what that has to do with anything.

    • Anonymous

      artists support anything that supports them AKA pays them you think nas aint get paid for that co-sign?

  • Anonymous

    If this goes thru then all sites with copyrighted poetry from famous poets needs to be taken down to. Any short stories need to be removed from the web as well.

  • Sam

    If they take down Rap Genius they are a bunch of moronic kill joys who should seriously reconsider their view of life.

  • Jahorse

    Fuck all this copyright bullshit. I understand that people want to get paid for what they create but this is getting way out of hand. They really want people to pay for licenses to quote their songs? These websites are extra promotion for artists and if anything are helping sales, not hurting them.

  • Eyes and Teeth

    This is ridiculous and disgusting. 'Rap Genius' is a great site. It helps give us insight into what rappers are thinking, and what they actually mean. This is almost like asking film critics to remove their websites. This is a horrible decision and hope RapGenius fights this. If Rap Genius goes down to this, sites like this could be next.


    RapGenius single handledly shifted the focus back to lyrics again and allowed its users to explore the depth and context of what their favourite rappers mean with every line, now with some clown ass rappers like Wayne and Drake that don't add metaphors, similes or any thought into their poetry, their fans may not have use for the site, but for those with intelligence and can break down what a true MC communicates, its revolutionary. Fuck NMPA

  • chris

    and it's not even about just reading, rap genius allows you to understand what most people who surface-listen wouldn't. No other site has that.

  • chris

    what are they actively doing to promote people's lyrics? Almost every major artist has at least one song with verified annotations, verifying their willingness to allow their lyrics to be read by the masses. That's why they do it. sounds to me like "hey guys, somebody is making money, let's get a hand in it."

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