We all know that latest song from Taylor Swift – blank space. It has cool lyrics and beat which makes a lot of handmade sellers so inspired on their new craft project. However, Swift has made even more of a point to manage her brand, her music and the value she believes both bring to the table. She may open her heart and her home to her fans, but the pop superstar is proving to rule her dynasty with an iron fist.

Avoid Incorporating Taylor Swift On Your Craft Projects – Here’s WhyAwaiting approval of additional trademarks, Swift’s lawyers have already descended upon Etsy and its sellers scouring for anyone who may be in violation of using lyrics like “Nice to meet you, where you been?”, “love’s a game, wanna play?”, “Darling, I’m a nightmare, dressed like a day dream”, and “could show you incredible things” that Swift has filed an intent-to-use application for the phrases. Most recently, Swift’s lawyers filed for additional trademarks to include other popular phrases off of her latest hit album 1989, including “this sick beat” and “party like it’s 1989”.

One Etsy store owner, who asked not to be named for fear of further legal action, received a trademark infringement warning last month in relation to a T-shirt featuring a Swift lyric. She told BuzzFeed News:

“We originally made the item for fun, we love Taylor and we had friends that love Taylor. We never intended for it to be a profit making item. The cost of the item covered shipping costs, and production costs with very little left over.

When we got the e-mail that the trademark infringement occurred, we were pretty shocked because while our item was popular we didn’t feel as if it had become popular enough to cause harm to Taylor Swift’s empire. We were shocked. And we were scared. We didn’t even make enough money for a lawyer and this had seemed like such a harmless and fun idea.

That same day, we saw that Taylor was attempting to trademark a variety of phrases and trying to get them blocked from being sold. After seeing that, we grew a little angry and felt targeted by her camp. It didn’t seem like much of a coincidence anymore.”

Her song lyrics are not the only thing that’s protected but also her name, logo, and official imagery is all trademarked. Those applications are still pending, but Swift already owns a long list of trademarks relating to logos and lyrics, meaning that anyone who makes and sells goods featuring those phrases and lyrics could receive a legal challenge.

Swift’s attempt at policing the internet for third party usage of trademarked intellectual property may put the kibosh on Etsy sellers, but for some artists, it provokes the pushing of the creative envelope.

So how does Etsy reacts to this issue?

Etsy said: “Because of privacy and legal concerns, we can’t verify specific information about who contacts us. However, I can share more information about our copyright and intellectual property policy:

When a seller opens a shop and lists an item on Etsy, they are agreeing to our terms of use, including trademark guidelines, and copyright and IP policy. We take intellectual property and copyright concerns very seriously, and we comply with the DMCA and remove items when we have proper notice. When we are notified about allegedly infringing material, we act swiftly and in compliance with our policy, which you can find here.”

Here are some Taylor Swift-related gifts from November, only three remain online and for sale.

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She has not received a registration for that phrase and has not yet submitted any evidence of using the phrase as a trademark (which is required before registration is allowed). But the story goes that a few Etsy store owners selling products incorporating Taylor lyrics have been contacted by her people with claims of trademark violations, leaving one anonymous owner scared.

So what are your thoughts about this? Let us know in the comment box below.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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One Response to “Avoid Incorporating Taylor Swift On Your Craft Projects – Here’s Why”

  1. Tobias 25. Feb, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    It is hard to fathom why so many crafters find copyright and intellectual property so perplexing. In this case, Taylor Swift, her name, appearance, and all her work are published entities and obviously a commercial interest. If you COPY any of her material, appearance, works, you automatically infringe her RIGHT to protect her interests, commercially and privately – COPYRIGHT get it?

    It also perplexes me how the same people who complain about being told not to use copyrighted material are the ones who will immediately whine about their jewellery designs, artwork, crafted ideas, being mass produced without their permission by the so-called Chines factories.

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