Earlier today, Taylor Swift’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked–and now it seems her YouTube account has also fallen to hacking, as a video was posted on her official Vevo channel showing an earlier interview clearly dubbed over with a track from Phoenix, Arizona-based “music miscreants” Man-Cat.
The hacked video, still up as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, showed footage of the Yahoo Live Stream during which she announced the single “Shake It Off” from her latest album, 1989. When she cues the new song, audio for Man-Cat’s “Oh My God” plays over the top of it.
Are Man-Cat the culprits? Is this more of Lizard Squad’s doing? Fast Company has reached out to YouTube and Taylor Swift and will update when we know more.
Update: the Phoenix, AZ group MAN-CAT responded to Fast Company’s inquiries extensively. Yes, they are responsible–but no, they did not hack Taylor Swift’s YouTube account. They made the video linked above and, in their words: “We just bent the rules as far as we could to prove a point.”
MAN-CAT uploaded a video with one of their tracks overlaying Swift’s music to see if her fans would buy into Swift’s apparent sudden switch to loud, noisy, subversive electropunk.
“The video was uploaded on our MAN-CAT YouTube page. We discovered you can change your display name to anything you’d like. We chose ‘TaylorSwiftVEVO’. We then discovered how flexible the channel pages were, and made ours identical to TaylorSwiftVEVO. Playlists, featured videos, social media icons and links, etc. But it was still our channel, and contained our videos underneath the mask.”
That emulation cost MAN-CAT their YouTube channel, which YouTube permanently terminated and forbid the group from creating another.
“YouTube suspends user accounts that have a clear trademark claim against them,” a YouTube spokesperson told Fast Company, referring specifically to YouTube’s trademark policy, which notes that: “If you upload content on YouTube that uses another party’s trademarks in a way that is likely to cause confusion, your videos can be blocked and your channel suspended.”
The group has uploaded their Taylor Swift mash-up on Vimeo, which is viewable here. Otherwise, the group is unrepentant, its point made:
“We as a culture need to consume pop culture the way we should consume food – if you’re taking it in, you should be well aware of where it came from, what it is made of, how healthy or toxic it is for you, and how well it has been marketed to you,” says MAN-CAT. “There are no nutrition labels or ingredient lists on iTunes, but if you dig deep enough, you can find out how the sausage was made. And that’s what we’re encouraging.”