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  • Hilary Sumner

Weaponizing Copyrights in Cancel Culture

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Recently many have been turning to copyrights as a means of punishing or silencing their opponents. In one recent case, a police officer relied on Taylor Swift’s copyright to prevent a private citizen from posting cell phone footage of an unflattering interaction. The officer played Swift’s music on his own phone while being recorded and relied on social media algorithms to recognize the copyright in the work and block the upload. In another case, the owner of a residence that was used as the site of a pornographic film registered a copyright in the home’s decorative accessories. The owner hoped that the use of this residence as a backdrop in the video would constitute copyright infringement. Both cases illustrate the growing trend of asserting copyrights in the background of a larger work to block the actions of others.

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