Can Music Lyrics Be Used As Evidence in New York State Courts?
Does art imitate real life? Not always, according to some. Some claim that prosecutors have actually used music lyrics, particularly hip-hop lyrics, as evidence against defendants in court to win their case. If you wrote about killing someone in your lyrics, does it necessarily mean you're reliving some sort of real-life incident? Now, NBC says that two New York lawmakers want to ban this practice, citing freedom of artistic expression. Does writing songs about crime mean one may have actually committed such a crime? Are lyrics protected free speech?
NBC says that Senator Bran Hoylman and Senator Jamaal Baily of New York City have introduced a bill that some are calling "rap music on trial". The bill wouldn't necessarily ban lyrics in court for good, however. This would simply make prosecutors have to clear a number of more hurdles and have to prove that the evidence in such lyrics is admissible in court. Sen, Brian Hoylman said in a statement:
Art is creative expression, not a blueprint of criminal plans. Yet we’ve seen prosecutors in New York and across the country try to use rap music lyrics as evidence in criminal cases...
Violent and sexual lyrics and imagery in the world of music are certainly not just limited to hip-hop. Songs like Guns N' Roses' Used to Love Her, or Helter Skelter by The Beatles, or Ozzy's Suicide Solution comes to mind as just a few examples. Music has often been unfairly blamed for the crimes committed by some. But do you agree with these state Senators that lyrics should not be used as evidence in court cases? Share your thoughts.