Things are already very bad for big tech in general, what with the on-going attempt to curb their power with anti-trust regulation, but it’s really starting to go downhill for Google. The search engine giant has been accused of stealing music lyrics from the popular digital media company, Genius.
Genius’ website is the go-to location online whenever a song’s lyrics, and their meaning, need to be determined. This unique value proposition has been the primary reason for making it one of the most visited websites therefore anything that threatens this position is bound to force the company to take immediate action.
And take action they did, and that too in an extremely ingenious manner. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Genius used Morse Code to determine that Google was indeed stealing lyrics that the company had spent years collecting from an array of musicians.
Genius claims that it has solid proof that Google has been raking content from its website as it uses a special watermarking system. This system alternates between straight and curly single quotation marks in its apostrophes, and it is this very system that was used by the company to encrypt the words ‘Red Handed’ into various lyrics.
Genius is adamant that Google has been shamelessly stealing lyrics from its website to display for users on the search page. This might be immensely convenient for the users since they don’t have to navigate anywhere else, but it means fewer users end up visiting Genius’ website.
“Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius,” said Genius’s chief strategy officer Ben Gross.
Google, on the other hand, denies these accusations and insists that it acquires these lyrics rightfully from licensed partners. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, a Google representative said, “We take data quality and creator rights very seriously and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement.”
Even if Google manages to slide out of this one, actions like this one merely paint a loathsome picture of a tech giant that is prepared to do anything to monopolize its domain. And that’s something that is certainly not going to help the company in the upcoming anti-trust lawsuits.