…Ready for it? It’s another Facepalm, Taylor Swift edition!
The genre-spanning, bajillion-album-selling pop star has been racking up w’s lately. With her latest album, Midnights, Swift broke 185 million Spotify streams in one day (a record) and has become the first artist to monopolize the top 10 Billboard spots at one time (another record). I guess she’s kind of a big deal. But with great fame comes great litigation, and Swift has been busy in court. Let the sparks fly!
Swift is currently embroiled in a double-dose of copyright drama. First, author and poet Teresa La Dart has filed a $1 million suit against Swift for alleged similarities between La Dart’s 2010 book Lover and Swift’s 2019 book of the same name. Claiming the superstar lifted “vibes” (that was her word) from La Dart’s self-published book, the plaintiff cites both Lovers contain a “recollection of past years memorialized in a combination of written and pictorial components,” not to mention pastel pinks and blues on the cover. A side-by-side comparison of the covers leads one to think La Dart needs to calm down, unless the concept of a “diary” or the color pink are La Dart’s hard-earned intellectual property.
This suit comes hard on the heels of another copyright claim against the singer-songwriter, who is facing trial for purportedly lifting lyrics for her 2013 smash “Shake If Off” from rap group 3LW. According to 3LW’s Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, Swift’s chorus comes a bit too close for comfort to their 2001 “Playas Gon’ Play.” Judge Michael Fitzgerald recently denied Swift’s most recent motion to dismiss the case, after an appellate court found the originality of Swift’s song should be decided by a jury. This comes after Judge Fitzgerald originally dismissed the case in 2017, claiming the lyrics are “too brief, unoriginal and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act.” Well, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.
In all fairness, Swift has been a bit of an intellectual property anti-hero herself in years past. In 2014, she filed for a trademark for the seemingly universal phrase “This Sick Beat,” a lyric from “Shake It Off,” along with a host of other lines cherry-picked from her 1989 album. In fact, Swift owns roughly 60 trademarked words and phrases, including variations of her name and initials, song lyrics and titles, and the sickeningly cute appellation of her fan club — the “Swifties.” Now, if you do want to get down with this sick beat™ you will have to ask Ms. Swift’s permission.
Finally, a bit of recent news. Ticketmaster, the many-headed serpent serving as the dungeon master to all things “ticket,” experienced massive outages during its presale for Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour. Due to the unfathomable demand for tickets (over 2 million sold in a day) the site crashed, and since then Ticketmaster has suspended all Swift’s sales due to lack of inventory. Many fans waited hours to purchase tickets, only to be met with glitches and left empty-handed. Well, glitches get stitches. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has launched an investigation into Ticketmaster’s sales practices, with politicians the likes of AOC calling for a good ol’ fashioned trust-busting. Talk about bad blood. Swifties of the world, unite!
But for now, if you are looking to score Tay-Tay tickets on the resale market, be prepared to pay upwards of $28,000 due to Ticketmaster’s Chernobyl-esque meltdown. Now there’s a Facepalm you can’t shake off.