Genius lost a lawsuit against Google alleging the Big G stole texts from its website.
The music company claimed to have evidence that Google was scratching its lyrics and showing them up in search results, thanks to a clever mix of digital watermarks and Morse code.
After Genius suspected that Google was cutting off their transcriptions, he added a new watermark to his texts, replacing the original apostrophes for a specific sequence of curly and straight apostrophes. When the straight apostrophes were interpreted as periods and the curly apostrophes as dashes, the pattern spelled a single word in Morse Code: “In the act.”
If the pattern were found outside of Genius’ website, the company would have irrefutable evidence that its texts were copied. Over the next several months, Genius said it sometimes spotted the watermark in Google’s text information fields. In May 2017, it asked the tech giant for answers.
[Read: This AI wrote such emo lyrics that humans thought it was My Chemical Romance]
Genius said Google never explained the problem. In response, the website embed the watermark in a random selection of new songs on the platform and then searched Google for the lyrics every day. Genius claims the search giant provided information fields for 90% of the watermarked songs, 43% of which matched the pattern.
According to the lawsuit, the source of the transcription, according to Google, was LyricFind, a Canada-based lyric licensing company, and all of the text was obtained through licensing rather than scraping. Genius claims that the watermark then disappeared from Google’s information fields.
Genius suspected that Google was still copying its texts and added a new watermark to its texts. He created a pattern that spelled “Genius” in Morse code. After allegedly discovering the new watermark in Google’s text boxes, Genius sued Big G and LyricFind for at least $ 50 million in damages.
But the underhand plan did not convince the courts. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Genius could not sue the companies because it did not own the rights to the original texts. Instead, the site only uses a license to publish the texts.
The judge also dismissed Genius’s allegations that scraping his texts was a breach of contract, as they are not “qualitatively different from federal copyright claims,” reports Variety.
Unfortunate genius. Whatever you think of the suit, you need to give them some props for the watermark trick.
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Published on August 12, 2020 – 13:42 UTC