There are many posts making the rounds on various platforms on social media, claiming of the avarice from Taylor Swift and her legal team over the disputes regarding her copyrighted phrases. Some of the phrases that have been reportedly copyrighted are “This Sick Beat” (from the song “Shake It Off”), “Nice to meet you, where you been?” (from the song “Blank Space”), as well as “1989” – the title of the singer’s most recent album as well as it is her birth year.
In the website Etsy, where there are many people who make a small business through crafting (from fan-art prints to mugs printed with her likeness), there have been several users who have been approached in a demand to take down their wares with the singer’s copyrighted property. Majority of these people are fans of Swift and her work but the action from her legal team has sparked some backlash for her allegedly threatening to sue her own fans.
The question, however, remains. Is Taylor Swift in the right to threaten lawsuits on the grounds of copyright
infringement for this?
Copyright law is, unfortunately, quite difficult in any kind of legal battle. Swift’s battles are some of the earliest recorded claims of this kind of situation. However, with the rise of illegal downloading, many artists are attempting to make sure that they make the most out of their pieces due to the competitive industry. Though seemingly inane phrases uttered by anyone – and certainly not exclusively penned by Swift – she is the first to have copyrighted the phrases in America, therefore giving her some method of control over merchandise that may be specifically linked to her work.
This kind of move is more to protect her brand than it is an outright move against her fans but there are still repercussions to this choice that Swift cannot just, to borrow a phrase, Shake (it) Off™.