Protecting your product from theft is of tantamount importance in the business world and Genius had perhaps the best method of protecting its work from sticky fingers.

The solution is Morse Code.

No, you won’t find dots and dashes in the verse for Old Town Road but you might notice apostrophes which while seemingly innocent, formed part of the best sting operation we’ve seen yet.

Back in 2014 Google launched its Information Box. This feature gave users relevant information in a special box rather than within the search results. For example if you Google a simple math equation, the answer is displayed in the aforementioned Information Box.

In 2016 Genius noted that lyrics on its site were seemingly being copied by another company – Google. Following an investigation Genius suspected that Google was lifting its lyrics and using them without credit.

Of course, finding evidence of this seems nigh on impossible until we circle back to Morse Code.

“Based on the observations of Google’s lyrics Information Boxes described above, in August 2016, Genius devised a digital watermark to embed in certain lyrics appearing on its site,” reads a court filing.

“This watermark (‘Watermark #1’) involved replacing the apostrophes in a selection of newly released songs with a distinctive pattern of curly (’) and straight apostrophes (‘). Genius set the 2nd, 5th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 20th apostrophes of each watermarked song as curly apostrophes, and all the other apostrophes straight. If the straight apostrophes are interpreted as dots and the curly apostrophes are interpreted as dashes, the pattern spells out “REDHANDED” in Morse code.”

An example of the Genius watermark

Take a moment to drink in the simplicity and genius of this watermark. Not only is it simple, it’s super safe as long as the person doesn’t edit the apostrophes and only copies and pastes the information.

And that appears to be what happened because Genius has decided to take legal action against Google and LyricFind.

Genius is suing both firms for a combined $50 million minimum in damages for anti-competitive behaviour.

While song lyrics seem like a silly thing to quarrel over, Genius has built a name for itself by giving transcribers and listeners a place to share and read lyrics, something no artist really provides alongside their music anymore. Protecting that information then is tantamount to the success of Genius.

Whether Genius will be successful in this matter remains to be seen but we have to hand it to the firm, that Morse Code solution was a smart play and we’re now going to start paying closer attention to simple formatting.

[Via – Engadget] [Image – CC 0 Pixabay]