Lyrics website Genius has accused Google of stealing lyrics from its site and reposting them in search results without permission. Genius claims they caught the search engine “red handed” thanks to Morse code embedded in their lyrics.
Starting in 2016, Genius positioned both “straight” and “curly” apostrophes in their lyrics which, when converted into dots and dashes like Morse code, spelled out the words “Red Handed.” Genius added that, using these apostrophes, they found over 100 instances of Google using Genius’ own lyrics in the Google search results.
The tweet below from Rand Fishkin shows how Genius set the trap.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Genius’ web traffic has dropped in recent years as Google has posted lyrics on its search results page in “information boxes” instead of routing users to lyric sites like Genius. In March, 62 percent of mobile searches on Google did not result in a click-through to another site.