I do not see this as legal to post lyrics from a song on a website, lyrics are the words of a song, and the only thing the site is doing is a service for the rappers for their listeners, if it was just about writing the lyrics down. But obviously that’s not the only reason that David Lowery is trying to get them. It was said that rap genius banked 15 million off of venture funding. So it this way of thinking yes it would be illegal to make money off of someone else’s work without their permissions.
Somehow these websites are making a good amount of cash from posting lyrics from songs on their websites. Rap genius does a little more than just posting the lyrics. I know I am a little late on getting on the website and rap genius is trying to become legit, so the site might be different now than when it was before getting some licenses. But from what I saw they try to define the lyrics for people, providing a service that they should get a good cut from that the rappers don’t need the majority of the cut. Yes the rappers created the lyrics and should get some money, but this site is creating a new product by giving you a definition to the lyrics. The second thing that I saw was that on the website rap genius they had the actually song available to listen to, free of charge so without a license this would be illegal.
The problem I had with understand this law suit was how does rap genius make its money. I did google this and didn’t come up with anything, and in the documents I did read it only talked about the number that it made and not how it made it. This leaves me to believe that they make their income through advertising. That because of how many people come to the site each day it creates a demand on the site for companies in the music business to make money. It does have some publicity on the site by not a lot, and nowhere near as many advertisements as over websites. But there is a number on its income, so they are making some money off of other peoples work, and because of this I would say it’s illegal.