By Lauren Lopez
There’s nothing worse than looking up a YouTube video you’ve wanted to see for a while and finding nothing but silence. You think, maybe there’s something wrong with your speakers, maybe your headphones are still plugged in, or maybe your volume isn’t all the way up. But no—this video has been removed due to copyright.
In early October, English comedy and entertainment YouTube duo Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton took to Twitter to express their disappointment over the muting of their wedding video, which featured them dancing to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”. One of the tweets that Dix posted regarding the incident said, ”By including our first dance to @taylorswift13 in our wedding vid, we have now lost our vows, speeches, and our entire audio due to copyright.” Luckily, the fans reacted and the issue must have been brought to the attention of someone who was able to fix it, because the audio returned so that the wedding can be enjoyed in its full sound.
Since the release of 1989, Swift has been very aggressive regarding copyright laws. Her legal team takes down almost every video from the Internet that uses her songs. The copyright issue has even gone as far as Swift taking fan-made products off of Etsy because they use her lyrics.
Fans poke fun at Swift’s tendencies to sue and delete due to copyright infringement. There have been memes floating around Tumblr in which posts including lyrics like “bad blood” or “this sick beat” are tagged with copyright information. Nothing is safe anymore.
Around September, when Swift was very much in the public eye for combatting copyright infringement, singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, released a full cover album of 1989. There was buzz from fans of both artists, as well as many others who have heard about Swift’s copyright wrath, wondering how Adams was able to do this without facing any papers from Swift’s lawyers.
According to an article from Mashable.com, it’s actually not that hard to make cover albums. Any artist is legally allowed to cover another artist’s song without obtaining permission to do so. All one must do is receive a compulsory license which automatically pays royalties to the original artist. As long as Adams did not change the lyrics or significantly alter the tunes of the original songs, he was legally allowed to cover Swift’s album.
At the end of the day, copyright law is confusing. In some ways, no videos are safe. In other ways, artists can legally cover entire albums without suffering any legal repercussions. Let’s just hope there’s no “bad blood” between artists (Taylor Swift™ No copyright infringement intended. Property of TAS LLC Management 2014©).