Cop Plays Taylor Swift on Phone in Hopes That Protesters’ Video of Him Will Be Pulled Due to Copyright

A video shows an officer confronting protesters and playing Taylor Swift music from his phone in an attempt to stop them from sharing the clip online.

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A video circulating online shows a police officer confronting protesters and then playing a Taylor Swift song from his phone in an attempt to prevent them sharing the clip online.

As Gizmodo reports, protesters gathered outside the Alameda Courthouse in Oakland, California on Tuesday for the pre-trial hearing of a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man in Walmart last year. Officer Jason Fletcher was charged with manslaughter after he fatally shot Steven Taylor, and justice advocates congregated around the courthouse. 

James Burch, policy director for the Anti-Police Terror Project, can be seen in a video from the gathering asking an officer why protesters are being told they can’t hold up banners outside the courthouse. The officer in question, Sheriff’s Deputy David Shelby, looks more visibly frustrated as the conversation continues, and eventually pulls out his phone to play Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

“You can record all you want,” he says directly into the camera. “I just know it can’t be posted on YouTube.”

Cop Plays Taylor Swift to Prevent Video Sharing of Him Harassing Protesters ‼️

A cop demanded we move #Justice4StevenTaylor banners. We asked him why. He pulled out his phone & played a Taylor Swift song.

“You can record all you want, I just know it can’t be posted to YouTube."

— Anti Police-Terror Project (@APTPaction) July 1, 2021

This is a tactic some police officers have been known to use in recent years, playing copyrighted material in an effort to get such clips immediately pulled by YouTube and other sites’ copyright-flagging systems. Explaining the situation further, Burch said the group filmed the officers after they were asked to move their “Justice for Steven Taylor” banners.

“Yes, copyright law needs reform. AND this is a MASSIVE waste of public resources," the Anti Police-Terror Project wrote in a tweet. "At a time when the Oakland Police Chief is spreading misinformation, with support from Mayor Libby Schaaf and Council Member Loren Taylor, about 911 response times and fear-mongering about a decrease in public safety following the reallocation of $18.4m from the police budget to alternative police-free services, it’s remarkable to see two highly paid sergeants & two deputies spend time policing family members of a man shot by police outside a hearing."

When the video of the confrontation started to circulate on social media, some Taylor Swift fans expressed their interest in hearing what the musician has to say about the tactic. While the Folklore artist hasn’t typically been known for making political statements, it’s worth pointing out that her approach to such topics changed dramatically last year when she denounced Donald Trump

.@taylorswift13 don’t let these cops use your music to violate activists rights!!!!!

— Alex Cat 🐱 (@AlexCatsoulis) July 1, 2021

Did y'all see just how fast he was able to pull up this song on his phone? He already had that queued in an app & ready to go.

Very interested to know how @taylorswift13 feels about cops using her music to avoid transparency with the public.

— Nikki (@nikkivpraze) July 1, 2021

Taylor has yet to respond to the video.

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