Etsy users threatened with legal action over unofficial Taylor Swift merchandise

News follows reports pop singer has applied to trademark song lyrics from '1989' album

Taylor Swift fans selling items of unofficial merchandise on Etsy have been threatened with legal action by lawyers working on behalf of the pop singer.

Buzzfeed reports that a number of Etsy users have been contacted by lawyers and asked to take items they are selling offline. From a list of 15 items on sale on the website in November 2014, just three remain at the time of writing.

One user of the website, which focuses on handmade or vintage items sold by individual sellers, spoke anonymously and said that the threat of legal action had left her scared. They pointed out that they were fans of Swift and not selling to make serious money.


“We originally made the item for fun, we love Taylor and we had friends that love Taylor,” said the Etsy user, who has now removed their items from sale. “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.”

Etsy supplied a statement to Buzzfeed about the situation, claiming: “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.”

It was reported last week that Taylor Swift had applied to trademark use of the phrase “this sick beat” as well as a number of other lyrics from her album ‘1989’. If successful it would mean Swift would owns the rights to lyrics from the 2014 album, with the phrases ‘Party Like It’s 1989’, ‘Cause We Never Go Out Of Style’, ‘Could Show You Incredible Things’ and ‘Nice To Meet You, Where You Been?’ registered with the US government.

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