Free Speech

City Council Furious at Cop Who Played Disney Songs To Keep from Being Recorded

There is some confusion over what the response should be, but there is broad agreement that the officer acted inappropriately.


Earlier this month, a Santa Ana, California, police officer blasted Disney songs in an attempt to keep videos of himself off of the Internet. Now, the city government is demanding answers.

On April 4, officers responded to a report of a stolen car in a residential neighborhood late at night. As a local YouTuber approached the scene, one officer began playing Disney songs at a high volume through loudspeakers. The music continued until Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, a Santa Ana city councilman who happened to live nearby, identified himself and asked the officer to stop. The officer admitted that he was playing the music to create a "copyright infringement" headache for the person filming.

Last week, at a Santa Ana City Council meeting, council members excoriated the officer's actions. Councilman David Penaloza called it "one of the most embarrassing things I've ever seen." Hernandez said, "There's no reason to ever behave this way with members of the public, especially if you're an officer with a badge and a gun." And Mayor Vicente Sarmiento lamented that such an event "chills" the city's efforts to "build trust with the community."

After the video initially went viral, Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin indicated that the officer was under investigation. Hernandez submitted an ordinance seeking to ban the practice, but as Valentin pointed out at the council meeting, the officer's actions were already against policy: According to the Santa Ana Police Policy Manual, the department "recognizes the right of persons to lawfully record members of this department who are performing their official duties. Members of this department will not prohibit or intentionally interfere with such lawful recordings."

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  1. The officer admitted that he was playing the music to create a "copyright infringement" headache for the person filming.

    FYI, if YouTube didn't have a retarded copyright strike system that's not tethered to anything in reality, officer friendly's actions would be a waste of time.

    1. I mean, at this point, given Youtube's and the rest of Silicon Valley's stupid "misinformation" policy, an office could beat someone in the street while shouting, "Ivermectin cures COVID! LONG LIVE JOE ROGAN! FAUCI CREATED COVID IN A LAB! ALEX JONES WAS RIGHT!"




        At first, I thought this guy was too clever, too high IQ to be an officer. I'm becoming more convinced that this was an unforeseen consequence that really should've been foreseen.

      4. Wow, that's some serious deep think right there.

    2. The officer should be sued by Disney for copyright violation.

      1. Essentially, yes. He was broadcasting a public performance of a Disney song. I'm no lawyer, but I believe that could be a cause for legal action right there.

        1. Let’s mass report him to Disney’s corporate counsel. Fucking shitweasel cop.

        2. "He was broadcasting a public performance of a Disney song."

          I am also not a lawyer, but I have spent more than a couple of minutes trying to understand US copyright.

          The way I understand this is, if he was playing a radio or Internet stream, then it was the radio station or web host that was making a public performance, not the policeman. As those people would have already paid the public performance license for the song, no harm, no foul (on the Copyright issues, at any rate.)

          However, if the cop was playing from a standalone playback device such as a locally-stored music file, CD, or tape, then he would be publicly performing the work.

          1. However, if the cop was playing from a standalone playback device such as a locally-stored music file, CD, or tape, then he would be publicly performing the work.

            Copyright doesn't unequivocally ban any/all public repeating of any portion of the work in public. It bans recreation of the work for profit. Moreover, there is a notion of specifically tailoring the ownership/protection. Your local HS doesn't *necessarily* have to license any given performance to hold public auditions. Your local Shriner's doesn't *necessarily* have to pay royalties to Ray Stevens for playing his song at your local parade. They do have to get Foreigner's permission/blessing to make a video of "I Wanna Know What Love Is" in order to raise funds for kids.

            1. But he *was* attempting to "profit" from the performance.

      2. It would be the taxpayers forced to pay, though.

        A simple rule that if anything the officer does impacts body cam footage in any way. they will be disciplined harshly should resolve this.

      3. This is hilarious. The officer isn't broadcasting the music, he is simply playing the music. You want to sue the officer because of You Tube's ridiculous algorithms and Disney's ludicrous copyright concerns over use of a Disney song in this instance? Also, no reason sophisticated sound filters can't blot out the Disney music and just record voice interactions.

  2. According to the Santa Ana Police Policy Manual, the department "recognizes the right of persons to lawfully record members of this department who are performing their official duties. Members of this department will not prohibit or intentionally interfere with such lawful recordings."
    Therefore, the officer was fired for his blatant disregard to both the manual and the Constitution. Right?

    1. Exactly! First the cop union, as a public spirited organization, expelled him; then he was arrested, tried and convicted.
      And Nancy Pelosi endorsed individual rights and the second amendment, and we all lived happily ever after.

  3. "...council members excoriated the officer's actions..."

    That'll learn him.

  4. There is some confusion over what the response should be,

    Let It Go?

    1. Point

  5. >>confusion over what the response should be

    will show whether council is truly furious.

  6. Oh come on. It's not like he failed to kill someone who he didn't feel was a threat.

    That will get a cop fired every time.

  7. Jeebus, he did not prevent the guy from recording, he prevented him from posting the recording to YouTube. Huge difference.

    If he had been filmed doing something inappropriate, unethical, or illegal, the recording could still be shown to his superiors, the DA, a grand jury, or played in court.

    Good for him for not wanting his entire life posted online

    1. Glad you mentioned this. Surprised other free thinkers seem unable realize the obvious. The cop did not stop anyone from recording anything as far as I see.
      I'm not sticking up for the cop.

    2. Good for him for not wanting his entire life posted online

      The cop's "entire life" was never in danger of being posted online, merely his official actions on that day and time.

      Huge difference.

      Furthermore, the cop was admittedly interfering with the ability of that information to be made public.

      1. The only way to get there is to come out in support of the worldwide marxist riots from 2020. The information can be made available to everyone impacted by his actions or who could deal with him.

        1. But if no one else ever sees it because you can't publicly share it then how is anyone with that power ever to know that there's something there?

    3. Even at that, *he* didn't prevent the posting of the video online. It could be posted without audio, posted in pieces with audio, or posted in full, with audio, under the understanding that the performance wasn't an attempt to recreate and infringe on Disney's intellectual property.

      I realize that, with Section 230, internet videos just pseudo-randomly pulling themselves down with no known cause makes it hard to understand all of this but, even then, he didn't prevent the video from being posted or pulled down.

      1. What legalistic bullshit. Whatever the effectiveness of his actions, the intent was to bypass policy and law.

        1. "Subvert". Subvert is the word that I was trying to remember.

          1. Yeah, pretty subversive of me for observing the law as written and not wanting to hold 3rd and 4th parties responsible for what gets posted online. The principled stance is obviously to just go along with the feelz generated by a Reason article.

            Hey, did you happen to catch any minor details about if the officer caught a no-shit car thief or does that matter when you're trying to indict an officer for noise violations?

      2. No he didn't. He just used existing mechanisms to ensure that it would be pulled down.

        Totes different.

        1. When you say 'existing mechanisms' you don't mean physical mechanisms, right? So, the officer was using existing legal mechanisms, as in, the officer was obeying the law?

          Totes different.

          Yes. One is the actual letter of the law and the other is your feelz. Further, one would be reining the law back to the letter that would make everyone more free and the other is making things more onerous for everyone because of your feelz. Unless Disney has some commercial interest that the posting of a cop arresting a suspect infringes upon, the officer can play the music, the videographer can post the video, and Disney and YouTube can fuck the hell off with their "We own that." bullshit.

          1. No, these are not legal mechanisms.

            These are YouTube's copyright policy. Different things.

    4. No, there is not a difference.

      He did this to prevent dissemination of the recording.

    5. Except that if the recording can't be placed on the current means of disseminating videos then it would not garner public attention.

      Without that, it's easy for a government to ignore and malfeasance or incompetence that might be recorded.

      So, sure, he didn't prevent recording. He just acted to negate the value of recording.

      Totes different.

      1. So, if the officer *sings* the tunes while making the arrest, do we ban them from singing? What if they "whistle while they work"?

        How contorted and absolutely fucked do you want to make this rather than admit that the real problem is that copyright, originally meant to protect Disney from me trying to sell my Steamboat Billie movie, shouldn't apply to me posting my 600 lb. squatting for reps video online just because my kid is watching movies in the background? I'm not recreating Disney's property for profit and neither is someone filming a cop arresting a perp to Hakuna Matata.

        Wait, can I even write Hakuna Matata in a post or might I be infringing on Disney's copyright? Exactly how far does Disney's ownership of letters and notes extend? This liberty shit is tough.

    6. He probably should have claimed that the purpose of the music was to make any time/content editing of the footage obvious as a way of preventing it from being turned into a misleading account that would look like something other than what had actually occurred.

      1. That would actually have been a pretty good excuse.

        "Because it makes it really obvious when the footage gets edited."

    7. Agree entirely. The officer did nothing to prevent or interfere with the recording. The fact You Tube and Disney might prevent the person doing the recording from broadcasting and possibly profiting from the recording are not under the officer's control.

  8. Let me guess, the city council got a bill from Disney for the public performance of their copyrighted work. Would that be the ultimate in 'fair play'?

  9. So cops wade into a concert where someone was assaulted, people film, copyrighted music is playing the background, is the video still banned from public display through no fault of the officers or concert goers?

    If only there were footage of someone opening fire at a concert to be found online...

    I'm with sarc, we have officers being fired for *not* firing on non-threats, this is not the Police State story you're looking for.

    1. That is a big difference. The difference between deliberately trying to invoke copyright protection mechanisms to obscure recording.

      1. Mind if I ask a question up front? Did he apprehend a no-shit car thief? Did he beat an innocent man that he believed to be a car thief? Did he beat an innocent man that he didn't believe to be a car thief? Yes? No? Do we have any indication one way or the other?

        He can't invoke copyright protection, it's not his material, he's not posting it. Jesus fuck section 230 and BLM/defund the police has melted the libertarian portion of your guys' brains.

        If this guy were a private citizen, blaring his music at 1 am, what would he get? Citation for a noise violation? What if he were a citizen passing through with Metallica playing at full tilt, saw an assault/robbery happening and apprehended the perp? Noise citation? Even if he turned up the music to prevent himself from being filmed? Good God you guys are retarded.

        1. Having audio content that's owned by particular copyright holders wouldn't prevent it from being posted online, but on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, etc there are algorithm/bots scouring for that material which will take down or suspend such posts before they have time to spread far as viral clips.

          Nothing about the music actually prevents anyone from filming it, and it wouldn't affect the use of footage in official proceedings, should any be initiated for any reason. What it does do is to prevent that particular recording from getting the national profile of the killing of George Floyd.

        2. May I ask a question? Would you be ok with warrantless searches? They will allow police to find criminals after all.

      2. deliberately trying to invoke copyright protection mechanisms

        I mean, fuck, if he pulls out a 12-sided die and rolls and invokes a level-9 protection spell on his bard do we cite him for that and draft policy around it too?

  10. He's no genius, just a Simpson's fan. IIRC in one episode, a video of something Homer did could not be used as evidence in a public courtroom because it had copywritten music in it.

    1. That's not how the public courts work in real life though.

      It can be an effective tactic in the "court of public opinion" where facts don't matter and admissibility of evidence is decided based on what fits the narrative being pushed by a given media outlet. It's understandable that the Simpsons writers consider this one to be the more important of the two; trial by CNN always reaches the verdict favored by the Progressive movement where the government courts are bound by what's in the laws and the actual evidence, neither of which constrain the mass media or outraged mobs on social media.

  11. Confusion over the response?

    You formally reprimand him. If this is part of a pattern of improper behavior then you reprimand him and then fire him.

  12. Seems excellent. The fact that a City Council Member showed up, is probably evidence a staged show was planned.

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