The Implications of Pop-Star Practices on the Future of Intellectual Property Penn State Law Review Online Companion Penn State Law Review

The Implications of Pop-Star Practices on the Future of Intellectual Property

Meera Puri

ABSTRACT

Major recording artists like Taylor Swift are taking advantage of the generous protections afforded to them by U.S. copyright and trademark laws. Swift has filed for, and received, numerous trademarks for lyrical phrases such as “This Sick Beat” and “Party Like It’s 1989” and has threatened merchants selling handmade Swift-themed goods through the online marketplace, Etsy. Swift is primarily targeting fan-made artwork whose creators profit minimally, if at all, and that likely has little to no effect on Swift’s own merchandise sales. Swift has also expressed strong opposition to music streaming services, such as Spotify, that other recording artists have praised for allowing consumers to easily and affordably access a wide array of music. Artists who share Swift’s views have withheld their music from streaming services, demonstrating their disapproval of royalty policies that they believe undercompensate artists, producers, writers, and labels.

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