No, Taylor Swift Is Not Going to Own This Sick Beat

An article at World Trademark Review sheds further light on the “[furor] surrounding trademark applications filed by pop star Taylor Swift,” and how it exemplifies “the confused and inaccurate reporting of trademark law in the media” (see an earlier post on this subject here).  In addition to the media’s interchangeable and apparently synonymous use of trademarks, copyrights, and patents when discussing any form of intellectual property, the coverage has incited a public backlash against “what is, in reality, normal practice for any individual or [organization] selling merchandise.”  Swift is “not actually seeking to trademark lyrics,” which is not permissible under current trademark law, but rather “is using, or planning to use, phrases in connection with merchandise that she already sells, and those phrases happen to be associated with her songs.”  The article laments the “false impression to the public of a [monopolization] of the English language” that the media coverage has fostered, and notes that “Swift is certainly not acting unusually in her brand protection strategy”—Kanye West’s 337 trademark applications number nearly three times as many as Swift’s 121, and numerous other famous pop artists have similarly applied for dozens of trademarks for various types of products and services.  Unfortunately, the damage may already be done—the media coverage has already “sparked possibly the first trademark protest song,” aptly titled “This Sick Beat” by the “avant-garde metal artist Peculate.”  Read the full article here, and hear Peculate’s protest song here.

 By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia (Taylor Swift  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia (Taylor Swift  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Reposted from World Trademark Review.