The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has sent takedown notices to 50 lyrics websites that it believes have not obtained licenses to publish the content.
Among those targeted are Rap Genius, Lyrics Mania and LyricsTranslate.com. The notices demand that the sites obtain licenses or remove copyrighted lyrics from their sites, according to Billboard.
David Israelite, chief executive of the NMPA, said his organisation was not targeting fan sites, but rather commercial websites. "This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites, or the many websites that provide lyrics legally," he said. Rather, the NMPA "is targeting fifty sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior."
The group claims that more than five million searches for "lyrics" occur each day on Google, and that over 50% of all lyric page views are on unlicensed lyric sites.
Israelite said that the take-down notices are a precursor to filing copyright infringement lawsuits against sites that continue to publish song lyrics that they don't have the licenses to.