Can the Police Weaponize Taylor Swift’s Copyright?

When a sheriff played a Taylor Swift song, it wasn’t for a dance party. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

The Streisand Effect, named after Barbara Streisand’s legal attempt to remove photos of her house from an obscure website got way more attention than if she just ignored it, is when a legal attempt to prevent attention backfires. It wasn’t a Streisand song but a Taylor Swift song that recently had that effect after a California deputy turned on Swift’s song Blank Space while arguing with a protester because he thought playing copyrighted songs would prevent anyone from posting a video to YouTube. Nope.

The copyright owner of a song has the right to block a video, but more often monetizes it—it’s the copyright owner, not the video poster, who gets ad proceeds. Now, the video has almost a million views, whoever owns the copyright to Blank Space has a blank check from the ad money, and the officer likely wants to go back to the way we were.

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