Taylor Swift’s Two Versions of Copyright Protection

Taylor Swift is fiercely protective of the copyrights to her songs.  From where they stream online, to her battles with her former management over the rights and ownership of her first six albums, she’s been an advocate for copyright protection.

Which makes this latest news about her more perplexing.

Recently, Swift released a brand new album, Folklore, and the first single appears as a lyric video online.

Okay, the song is good, and the whole idea of filming the lyric video at a drive-in theater is kind of a 2020 thing, as it appears that drive-in theaters are currently the only form of family entertainment operating right now.

But … anybody recognize that drive-in screen?

Sure, it looks like any other drive-in screen out there, but that electrical wire tower at the right … the placement of the old junction box rods throughout the field …

That’s the Greenville Drive-In, just south of Albany on Route 32.  Opened in 1959, the drive-in was later purchased in 2015 and upgraded with modern amenities.  It’s one of several drive-ins that operate within a one-hour drive of Albany (including the Jericho, the Hollywood, the Hi-Way, the Malta, the Hathaway’s and the El Rancho).

But here’s the thing.  The Greenville Drive-In operators only found out that their field was the subject of this Taylor Swift lyrical video … the day it dropped online.

So who filmed this video?  It looks as if someone either took the image and stretched out the clouds a bit (to show them moving in the video), or maybe slipped into the park and shot the footage and slipped out.

Now normally, if you’re going to film on someone’s property and use that image in some sort of professional capacity, then you need to acquire a release from the landowner to do so.

According to the Greenville Drive-In people, no release was requested or given.

So what’s going on here? Is Taylor Swift operating on a “do as I say, not as I do” platform, where her songs and imagery is protected, but she can film her videos wherever she wants without providing even the minutest acknowledgment or compensation or recognition?

Yeah, I’m thinking that someone has some explaining to do.

Of course, there’s a simple solution that can make everything right.

Hey Miss Swift, why don’t you at least perform an acoustic set at the Greenville Drive-In after the pandemic is over?

Or maybe at least acknowledge where you poached your imagery from?