What just happened? In light of recent media coverage, Salgar said Google has asked its lyrics partner to investigate the issue to ensure they are following industry best practices with regards to how they source their lyrics. Google will also soon be adding attribution to lyrics provided by third parties, we’re told.

Lyric website Genius earlier this week shared evidence which it claimed implicates Google in the unauthorized reproduction of song lyrics posted on its site.

To prove its case, Genius hid a watermarking system in its lyrics that used a pattern of straight and curly apostrophes. When decoded, the symbols spell out the words “Red Handed” in Morse code. Genius said it found more than 100 examples of song lyrics on Google featuring the coded format.

Genius claims it provided Google with evidence of the theft in 2017 and again earlier this year but the search giant is only responding to the matter this week after significant media coverage.

In a post on its official blog, Satyajeet Salgar, a Google product manager for search, said Google pays music publishers for the right to display lyrics. When a publisher doesn’t provide digital copies of lyrics, they do what streaming services and other companies do – license lyrics from third parties.

Salgar explicitly said Google does not crawl or scrape websites to source lyrics.