Funny/WeirdMusic News

Plane-tracking university student to Taylor Swift: “Look What You Made Me Do”

As an amateur aviation geek myself, I have plenty of sympathy for Jack Sweeney, the Florida university student who likes to track aircraft on their journeys around the globe in real-time. I do this all the time using free and legal apps like FlightAware, Flightradar 24, Flightview, and Planefinder. All of them use public information delivered by air traffic control agencies around the world. Here’s a screen shot of one of them.

Each site/app offers the ability to drill down on all available information about an aircraft in the sky, commercial and private. Again, totally legal information provided by official sources.

Taylor Swift’s people have objected to Sweeney tracking her private jet(s), saying that this is an invasion of her privacy, is causing her distress, and threatens her well-being. I quote: “While this may be a game to you, or an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame, it is a life-or-death matter for our Client.” They believe this to be “stalking and harassing behavior.”

Right. Okay.

Sweeney has some lawyers, too. They’re pushing back with a legal response entitled “Look What You Made Me Do.”

Sweeney’s lawyers point out that Tay-Tay’s lawyers haven’t been able to show that any laws have been broken. In their opinion, Sweeney is engaging in his “protected speech” by publishing Federal Aviation Administration data that anyone can get.

“Put simply, there is nothing unlawful about (Sweeney’s) use of publicly accessible information to track private jets, including those used by public figures like Taylor Swift…The @taylorswiftjets account is engaged in protected speech that does not violate any of Ms. Swift’s legal rights. Your letter makes that clear by failing to identify any legal claim.”

Getting a little deeper, Taylor’s lawyers cite a California stalker statute that really doesn’t fit well. “We do not know why you believed the best claim against an individual in Florida and his company is a California statute, but that, combined with the absence of any credible legal claim, suggests a groundless effort to intimidate and censor our clients.”

By the way, Sweeney is something of a Swiftie, too. Oh, and he’s the guy Elon Musk threatened to sue for tracking his jet. Aw.

The only mistake I see in Sweeney’s legal response is the title of the brief. I would have called it “F*ck You, I Won’t Do What You Tell Me.”

BONUS FUN FACT: Tay-Tay apparently sent her private jet to bring Travis Kelce to Australia where the Eras tour continues. I hope she paid for carbon offsets.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38025 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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