In this week’s episode of the Briefing by the IP Law Blog, Scott Hervey and Josh Escovedo discuss recent news stories reporting that police officers played copyrighted music during filmed encounters, ostensibly to keep the videos from being uploaded to the Internet. Scott and Josh discuss how copyright law, the DMCA, and fair use

In December 2019, Scott Hervey wrote about the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Taylor Swift by the writers of the song “Playas Gon’ Play.”  The song was released by the girl group 3LW in 2001 and included the lyrics “Playa, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate.”  In 2014, Taylor Swift released “Shake It Off,” which included the lyrics “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Continue Reading Taylor Swift Keeps Fighting the ‘Players’ and the ‘Haters’

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of news articles and stories about police officers playing popular music during a citizen/officer interaction that is being filmed by the citizen.  For example, Vice reported on a Beverly Hills police officer breaking out his phone and playing over a minute of Sublime’s “Santeria” when the officer discovered that his interaction with a well-known LA-area activist was being live-streamed by the citizen via Instagram.  Similarly, Mashable reported that an Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy played a Taylor Swift song during an encounter.  Why is this happening?  There seems to be a belief that police service, when paired with a musical interlude, will prevent a recording of the interaction from being posted on social media due to algorithms that detect and remove videos incorporating copyrighted music (among other types of content).

Continue Reading Don’t Film So Close To Me: Can Copyrighted Music Keep Vids of Police Encounters Off The Internet?

In the early 2000’s, an all-girl band called 3LW performed a song called “Playas Gon’ Play,”  which was written by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler.  “Playas Gon’ Play” was initially released in May, 2001 and rose to number 81 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.  The album on which “Playas Gon’ Play” appeared sold over One Million copies and 3LW performed the song numerous times on national television.  The chorus of “Playas Gon’ Play” consists of the following lyrics:

Playas, they gonna play
And haters, they gonna hate
Ballers, they gonna ball
Shot callers, they gonna call
That ain’t got nothin’ to do
With me and you
That’s the way it is
That’s the way it is.
Continue Reading Player/Haters May Be Original After All

Taylor Swift has been inAudrey-Millemann-03_web the news a lot over the last year or so. She is phenomenally successful. Her hit album “1989” concert tour was the highest grossing tour in the world in 2015 (over $250 million) and the highest grossing tour ever in North America (smashing the previous record held by the Rolling Stones’ 2005 tour).

As she said in a Wall Street Journal Op/Ed piece in 2014, Swift believes songs are valuable art that should be paid for. Swift means what she says. She protects her intellectual property. She has become a strong voice for music artists in the fight against those who distribute music for free without permission (otherwise known as copyright infringers), especially Internet music streaming services. When it comes to copyright, Swift has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with in the music industry – she is not afraid to go after anyone.

For example, in late 2014, Swift’s team directed China’s largest music streaming services to take down her entire catalog of music from all free services. In a country where free music is almost viewed as an entitlement, Swift took her music out of the picture.


Continue Reading Don’t Get On the Wrong Side of Taylor Swift in a Copyright Case!