NMPA Files Suits Against Two Unlicensed Lyric Sites

May 21, 2014


Group targets new, unlicensed lyric sites identified by songwriter and researcher David Lowery to stop illegal use of song lyrics

WASHINGTON – Today the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) announced it has filed lawsuits against SeekLyrics.com and LyricsTime.com, two unlicensed lyric websites that have refused to license or remove infringing content. NMPA has also sent takedown notices to additional unlicensed lyric sites, all identified by songwriter and University of Georgia researcher David Lowery. Lowery today released an updated list of top unlicensed lyric websites that profit from advertisement-generated revenue, yet do not compensate songwriters whose lyrics are available on these unlicensed sites.

“Litigation is a last step. Our goal remains to ensure that lyric sites and songwriters become partners through licensing, and many sites, including RapGenius, SongLyrics.com and LyricsMania.com, have done just that,” said David Israelite, president and CEO of the NMPA. “This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally. We are targeting sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior, which impacts a songwriter’s ability to make a living.”

Last November as a part of its Anti-Piracy Program, NMPA reached out to 50 unlicensed lyric websites, including the two named in today's lawsuit, with the goal of partnering to protect the songs of its members and their songwriters through licensing agreements. Of those 50 sites, 11 have licensed, 11 have removed infringing content and others are discussing resolutions. Today’s action is a continuation of these efforts.

NMPA is working with Lowery who has updated his ongoing academic study listing top unlicensed lyric websites. Lowery’s research found many lyric sites have well-established advertising schemes that yield significant annual revenue. Sites often feature ads from major brands secured through prominent advertising exchanges.

Every day, there are over five million searches for “lyrics” on Google alone, and over 50 percent of all lyrics page views worldwide are on unlicensed lyric sites. Since 2006, NMPA’s Anti-Piracy Program has targeted unlicensed music sites that are profiting from lyrics and more recently mobile lyrics applications, working with lyric licensers LyricFind and MusiXmatch to encourage these sites and apps become licensed and support songwriters. In addition, NMPA has successfully litigated against LiveUniverse and LyricWiki and received judgments of more than $7 million on behalf of its members.

About NMPA: Founded in 1917, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) is the trade association representing American music publishers and their songwriting partners. The NMPA’s mandate is to protect and advance the interests of music publishers and songwriters in matters relating to the domestic and global protection of music copyrights.