You must have come across song lyrics displayed directly on Google’s search results pages. While this feature is handy, lyrics website Genius.com says that Google is using underhanded tactics to steal its content and display it on its pages.
Genius claims that its traffic is dropping because Google has been publishing lyrics on its own platform, and some of them are lifted directly from the website.
So how did Genius find out Google is stealing from them?
The proof lies in the apostrophes, says Genius. It purposefully laid a trap by alternating the use of straight and curved apostrophes in the lyrics on its website.
It was done in a very specific sequence because when these two types of apostrophes are converted into Morse code, they reveal different patterns of dots and dashes.
This is a type of watermarking which basically spells out “red handed” in Morse code as there were more than 100 cases where Google’s lyrics included those exact apostrophes.
Google, on the other hand, denies stealing any lyrics. The company claims the lyrics displayed in the Google search results are sourced from licensed partners.
But we all know that in recent years, Google has started providing more and more information to users directly on the search page. While this is a time-saving feature for users who don’t want to click on the website, it’s bad news for sites whose existence depends on those clicks.