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To avoid being livestreamed, cops could be using this trick to trigger copyright filters

It seems that the goal is to have bots automatically remove videos from platforms like Instagram for copyright infringement.

cop playing music while being livestreamed
Screenshot: Mrcheckpoint_ / Instagram

Sennett Devermont is a well-known activist in Beverly Hills, and recently, during a visit to the local police department, he was “treated” to a police officer’s music choices as he livestreamed the interaction on Instagram.

According to Vice, BHPD Sgt. Billy Fair is seen wearing a Blue Lives Matter facemask, and when questioned about that, Fair pulls out his phone, swipes around for a bit, and Santeria by Sublime starts playing from the phone. Devermont quickly calls out this action, saying it is being used to trigger bots to automatically take down the video he is recording.

You can see the interaction below in the Instagram post:

Apparently, this went on for around one minute before Fair starts speaking again.

Companies have been cracking down on copyrighted music. It’s an ongoing point of contention on Twitch, and sites like Instagram and TikTok have started taking a more active approach to removing content that might violate copyright. They all use bots to make this happen, meaning that just having the music could trigger an automatic takedown.

Vice notes that this particular video should be fine, as Instagram’s policy states that the music should not be the main point of the video, that there should be a visual component, and it also depends on how long a song is playing.

Filming police officers is protected under the First Amendment. While there are some exceptions, nothing about this filming seems illegal.

It’s also not an isolated occurrence. Devermont filmed the same police officer later, and the same thing happened. Then, a couple of weeks ago, in a video shared privately with Vice, a different officer did the same thing with the activist.

In a statement to VICE, the police department said that “the playing of music while accepting a complaint or answering questions is not a procedure that has been recommended by Beverly Hills Police command staff.” They also noted that the videos from Devermont are currently “under review.”

Have any thoughts on this? Surprised that police might be resorting to this tactic to avoid being livestreamed? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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