Genius is an American digital media company. Originally founded in August by Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory, and Mahbod Moghadam , the site allows users to provide annotations and interpretation of song lyrics, news stories, sources, poetry, and documents. Originally launched as Rap Genius with a focus on hip-hop music , the company attracted the attention and support of celebrities, and venture capital enabling further growth. That same year, an iPhone app was released. To reflect these new goals, the site re-launched as Genius in July An Android version was released in August ,  and in and , the company began producing music-focused original video content and hosting live events and concerts. Genius first started as a crowdsourced hip-hop focused site, and was originally named Rap Exegesis.
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Rap Genius, a popular website that compiles annotations of song lyrics, has reached a licensing agreement with music publishers after being accused of using the lyrics of thousands of songs without permission. Publishers control the copyrights for songwriting and lyrics, which are separate from those for recordings. It was a prominent slap by the music business against Rap Genius, which in both the music world and the heady Silicon Valley technology scene has become a popular attraction for its crowd-sourced commentary about rap songs as well as other texts, like ancient Greek plays that by turns can be scholarly, irreverent or both. At the time of the controversy, it appeared that Rap Genius might consider a fair-use defense for its site, which would have allowed it to avoid paying publishers for reprinting their lyrics. The deal will allow publishers to enter into a settlement covering past uses of their lyrics, and also grant Rap Genius new licenses to republish lyrics in the future. No further details were announced. The deal is a victory for music publishers, who have lately been pushing hard over compensation and licensing issues online, with mixed success.