Businesses Can Learn from Kanye vs. Taylor Feud

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Businesses Can Learn from Kanye vs. Taylor Feud

October 13, 2016

You may remember the drama that occurred between Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian back in July regarding one of Kanye’s new songs. Taylor was offended by some of the lyrics about her in Kanye’s song, and took to social media to call him out on it. In reply, Kanye claimed that he had told Taylor about the lyrics and she had been fine with them at the time. The whole debacle appeared to be yet another celebrity “he said, she said” feud that took over timelines and wouldn’t seem to go away. Things got more interesting, though, when Kim released a video she had recorded of the conversation via Snapchat.

Other than the fact that this video clearly shows Kanye discussing the lyrics with Taylor, it also raises an interesting question about call recording. It’s pretty obvious that Taylor had no idea she was being recorded, or else she wouldn’t have publically claimed to have no idea about the lyrics. 

In the below Instagram post, Taylor states in her caption “That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet.” While it’s still unknown if she knew about the lyrics beforehand, it’s clear that she didn’t know she was being recorded. And, in the state of California, along with many others, that’s not okay.

In the months following the feud, the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) has been called into question. Who has the right to record a call, and what kind of consent is needed? The spotlight on your company may not be as big as it is on Kanye, but you still need to know the rules, especially if your business regularly records customer service calls.

The original purpose of CIPA was to prevent wire-tapping and the recording of calls snatched from the airways, way back when wireless phones were new. While it had good beginnings, the Act has been used by lawyers in recent years to attack companies that record customer service calls. These lawyers have embraced Section 632.7 of the Act, which prevents individuals from “intercept[ing] or receiv[ing] and intentionally record[ing]” any communication without the consent of all parties if at least one individual on the call is using a cordless phone or cellular phone. Although the Act was clearly created to prevent people from intentionally intercepting calls traveling through the airwaves, lawyers have twisted it to meet the needs of their clients. So, if someone calls into a call center on a mobile phone, and you don’t inform them that they will be recorded, your company may find itself in a world of trouble.

When used in court, this argument can either make or break the case. In Young v. Hilton, the judge relied on the legislative history to dismiss the CIPA case. Essentially, the judge said that the CIPA is in place to prevent the intentional, malicious intercepting of calls—not to harm call center workers doing their jobs. However, other cases have allowed these allegations to go through, which means that the success of the argument depends entirely on what the judge thinks of the matter.

Since you never know what the judge’s opinion will be on a case concerning CIPA, it’s best to stop the issue from arising altogether. If your company is in the habit of recording customer service calls, make sure to include an automated disclosure at the start of all incoming and outgoing calls. By telling the customer upfront that they will be recorded, it relieves you of all responsibility. If they choose to continue with the call after being told the conversation will be recorded, then they are consenting to it and cannot prosecute your company later on.

Kim and Kanye may yet find themselves in a bit of a mess after illegally recording Taylor, but your company doesn’t have to be. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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