Genius uses secret code to accuse Google of stealing lyrics from them

The code spelled out the words 'Red Handed'

Lyrics website Genius has claimed that Google has stolen lyrics from its site and reposted them without permission.

Genius says it caught the search engine “red handed” by analysing Morse code embedded in their lyrics, claiming that Google had directly lifted material in more than 100 cases.

Google has denied the accusations, citing their partnership with LyricFind. The company’s Chief Executive Darryl Ballantyne said: “We do not source lyrics from Genius.”

It’s not a crime for Google to post a song lyric in itself. In the past decade, the search giant has displayed lyrics inside information boxes instead of sending users to lyrics websites, but Genius claims that Google has been stealing the song lyrics directly from their platform and reposting them on their search result page.



The evidence that Genius is presenting Google with is its Morse code, which is formed of two types of apostrophe. Genius has been embedding both “straight” and “curly” apostrophes in their lyrics since 2016, which, when converted into dots and dashes like Morse code, spell out the words ‘Red Handed’.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Genius’ web traffic has declined in recent years after Google launched its information boxes – and, in March, 62% of mobile searches on Google did not result in a click-through to another site.

“Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius,” Genius’s chief strategy officer Ben Gross told the publication. “We noticed that Google’s lyrics matched our lyrics down to the character.”

Genius claim that Google have stolen more than 100 song lyrics.

The Wall Street Journal adds that they corroborated Genius’ accusations by matching the results of three randomly chosen songs from a list of the 100 instances. One example included Alessia Cara’s song ‘Not Today’.