Beverly Hills police accused of playing copyrighted music to avoid being filmed

Biba Adams-Wed, February 10, 2021, 10:48 AM

Did Beverly Hills cop Sgt. Billy Fair push play on his cell phone to stop another’s video from posting?

A new report alleges that police officers in Beverly Hills, California have found a loophole around being recorded and having those videos shared on social media.

Sennett Devermont walked into the city’s police department headquarters to file a form to obtain body-camera footage from a traffic stop in which he felt he was unfairly ticketed. A well-known activist in Los Angeles, Devermont went live on Instagram to share the moment with his 300,000-plus followers.

In a video recording interaction between the activist and Sgt. Billy Fair, the Beverly Hills Police officer asks how many people are watching the video. Devermont answers: “Enough.”

The officer then pulls out his phone and turns music on his phone. He turns up the volume, and after a minute of “Santeria” by Sublime, he begins speaking again.

VICE report notes that “this seems to be an intentional (if misguided) tactic to use social media companies’ copyright protection policies to prevent himself from being filmed.”

Instagram is strict on copyrighted music. Any video that contains music is subject to removal by the photo-sharing site.

While the social media giant declined to comment on this incident, company officials did tell VICE “our restrictions take the following into consideration: how much of the total video contains recorded music, the total number of songs in the video and the length of individual song(s) included in the video.”

Because this video is not being used in a DJ format and is only one song, it is unlikely to be removed.

The encounter, however, is not limited to just one time. Outside the police station, Devermont approached the officer again, who, again, turns music on.

In a statement to VICE News, the Beverly Hills Police Department says Sgt. Fair violated their policies, and his actions are “currently under review.”

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