News — February 3, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Taylor Swift Moves To Trademark ‘This sick beat’ and other ‘1989’ lyrics


Taylor Swift’s latest album ‘1989’ was the best-selling album of 2014, and now she has taken action to prevent eager money-makers from profiting from her songs.She already owns the trademark to her name, signature and stylised initials but in an unprecedented move, she has applied to have a number of phrases from her latest best-selling album, 1989 trademarked, according to the legal database Justia


Taylor Swift performing in concert (Image: Eva Rinaldi / Wikipedia)

Taylor Swift performing in concert (Image: Eva Rinaldi / Wikipedia)

Swift has always maintained tight control over her intellectual property, evidenced by her removal of her music catalogue from music streaming site Spotify last year but has now taken the unprecedented step of trademarking the words to her songs. The lyrics “Party like it’s 1989,” “This sick beat,” “Cause we never go out of style,” “Could show you incredible things” and “Nice to meet you, where you been?” have had trademark applications applied for which would prevent the use of these phrases on a range of products without the singer’s permission.


But it’s not just people peddling “This Sick Beat” stickers on eBay that have something to worry about though. The trademarking applies to a huge range of products that would give Swift control over their use on everything from guitar picks and sticks to soaps and cushions and even weirder applications like on knitting implements, aprons and napkin holders.


Whilst the trademarking of combinations of words has occurred in the sporting world (wrestling and boxing announcer Michael Buffer has trademarked ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’ and made an estimated $400 million), this is the first attempt by a recording artist to trademark lyrics from their song. Furthermore there is no such thing as a global trademark, so Swift would have to apply for trademarks in every region and territory she is interested in maintaining such strict control over.


The timing is interesting in that it has occurred shortly after Rihanna’s successful litigation against Top Shop for using her image on t-shirts without permission. At the crux of the issue was that TopShop was unauthorised in using Rihanna’s intellectual property, in this case, her visage, passing it off as though she had endorsed its use.  As album sales fall across the globe, musicians have to be much more rigorous in protecting their images, works and trademarks and if successfully granted, this trademark is sure to lead to artists to trademark up a storm in the future.


For now though, we’ll just have to be content asking Taylor if she’s okay with us “partying like it’s 1989” when we listen to “this sick beat”.  But don’t worry if you feel the need to “shake it off”, that trademark is already held by a diet company.