It was recently exposed that Google may be copying lyrics from the Genius website for its own benefit after their watermark was found in Google’s lyric boxes. Genius has filed a lawsuit against Google and LyricFind, who provided Google with the lyrics, and is seeking at least $50 million. Reps from Genius notified Google of the watermark issue, but the execs only said they would look into and didn’t comment on why it was there. Genius says the only way the watermark would appear was if the lyrics were directly copied and pasted from the website. I feel Google should be embarrassed at how blatantly they were caught copying from other creators in their attempts to keep users on their site.
This is important to pay attention to, because while it seems like a minor dispute that seems to have done little harm, it continues to add to competitors cases that Google is partaking in anti-competitive practices. They will do anything to keep users on their own sites instead of providing them with the selection of others providing content. It is believed that Google will become a focus for federal and state investigators probing for potential antitrust violations.
When reading the article I was quickly reminded of an interview I watched with the CEO of Yelp, who has been battling Google’s anti-competition practices for years. His company suffered greatly when Google changed their format to show reviews of restaurants directly on the search page without having to click any links or scroll. It seems Google will go to any lengths, even directly ripping off a competitor, to keep website traffic on their content.