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Rap Genius faces cease-and-desist from National Music Publisher's Association

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Nov 12, 2013 10:19 AM EST

HOW WILL YOU UNDERSTAND PUSHA T'S LYRICS NOW? (Photo : Caitlin Carter)

Rap Genius has set a bar for interactivity and music discussion on the internet, and the National Music Publishers Association wants that bar taken down. The organization launched cease-and-desist notices against more than 50 lyric websites, including the aforementioned Genius. The charges are that the sites, by earning profits from advertising while publishing copyrighted material, are taking part in "blatantly illegal material." 

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NMPA chief executive David Israelite claimed that Google conducts more than 5 million searches for lyrics daily, and that more than 50 percent of those hits go to sites that aren't licensed to publish performer's work. He clarified that the orders against sites such as Rap Genius will not be issued against personal blogs, or small not-for-profit websites. 

The cofounder of Rap Genius, Ilan Zechory, argued in an interview with Billboard that his site went beyond the limits of other lyric-providing sites by allowing users to interact and discuss the content featured. 

"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. "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." 

He has a point. The world never would have known the true spelling of Pusha T's "yeachh" noise had it not been for Rap Genius. Looks like you should play with its lyrical analysis tool while you still can. 

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