By Toshia Smith | Editor: Kristen Daly | www.amdlawgroup.com
For years, there has been a feud brewing between pop star Taylor Swift and rapper Kanye West. It all started when West infamously jumped on an MTV stage back in 2009 while Swift was accepting an award. Fast forward six years later, West made a song titled “Famous” in which he references Swift derogatorily and states that he made her famous. West claimed that before releasing the song, he asked Swift’s permission to use the lines in which he talks about her. Swift and her management vehemently denied that she gave permission, with Swift even making a statement at this year’s Grammy Awards in which she appears to scold West for taking credit for her success. West’s wife, socialite Kim Kardashian, then posted a video via the social media site Snapchat that featured the rumored telephone conversation between Swift and West in which Swift appears to have in fact given permission for the lines in West’s song.
After much backlash from the public towards Swift, reports started to swirl that Swift would seek legal action against Kim and Kanye for recording her and posting the video without her consent. In certain states like California, where Taylor allegedly was at the time of the conversation, it is illegal to record a person without both parties’ consent. In New York, where Kim and Kanye were at the time of the conversation, only one party has to consent to the recording. The question of which forum would rule in this case will never be in question as Swift has no remedy since the “confidential communication” wasn’t “confidential” to begin with. Swift was privy to the fact that others were in the room at the time of the call, and therefore had no expectation of confidentiality with regards to the conversation.
It seems that celebrities have not yet grasped the concept that everything can be recorded. A few years ago, former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded making racist comments to his girlfriend. He received a lifetime ban from the NBA and was forced to sell the team. His claim that the conversation recording was illegal fell on deaf ears. This begs the question: is there really an expectation of confidentiality in today’s society? Swift knew she was having a conversation that was being heard by Kim Kardashian, a woman known for having cameras around 24/7. There is a sense of irony in the fact that Kim’s lifestyle as a reality-television star would help her in a confidentiality case since no reasonable person would expect a conversation with her or her family to be completely confidential. A further sense of irony comes from the possibility that Kanye West might actually have a defamation case against Swift if it is found that she lied for months on end, disparaging his reputation.
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