Taylor Swift is accused of stealing the design for her ‘Lover’ book from an unknown author.
Taylor is accused of stealing key elements from the book companion to her 2019 album. According to experts, it is deeply flawed and “should be thrown out” immediately.
Taylor Swift is facing a new copyright lawsuit alleging that she stole the book that accompanied her album Lover from a self-published book of poems with the same title, but legal experts tell Billboard that the case is highly questionable and unlikely to succeed.
Author Teresa La Dart claimed in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Tennessee that “a number of creative elements” from her 2010 book Lover were copied into Swift’s book – an extra bundled with the special-edition Lover CD that the New York Times called a “must-read companion” for Swifties.
Swift’s book infringes on La Dart’s copyrights, according to La Dart’s lawyer, and the star now owes “in excess of one million dollars” in damages.
“To this day, the defendants have neither sought nor obtained from TLD a licence of her creative design element rights, nor have they given any credit to TLD… let alone provided any monetary payments,” wrote La Dart’s attorney William S. Parks in the complaint.
The alleged similarities between La Dart’s book and Swift’s book include “pastel pinks and blues” on both covers, as well as an image of the author “photographed in a downward pose.” Swift, according to La Dart, also copied the book’s “format,” which is “a recollection of past years memorialised in a combination of written and pictorial components.” La Dart claims that the inner book design, specifically the “interspersed photographs and writings,” violated her copyrights as well.
Legal experts would agree that those elements do not appear to be distinctive enough to warrant copyright protection.
“As far as I can tell, she’s not claiming that any of the actual content is similar,” said Aaron Moss, a veteran litigator at Greenberg Glusker who blogs about copyright lawsuits at Copyright Lately.
“The concept of memorialising a series of recollections over time by interspersing ‘written and pictorial components’ is not protectable,” Moss said. “If it were, this person could sue anyone who has ever kept a diary or made a scrapbook.”
Although the titles of Swift’s and La Dart’s books are identical, copyright law typically does not protect titles. And the name “Lover” isn’t unique to La Dart: according to US Copyright Office records, more than a dozen other books have the same title.
“This lawsuit should be dismissed on a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff’s lawyer does not first reconsider and voluntarily withdraw the complaint,” Moss said.
La Dart’s attorney defended bringing the case in an email to Billboard: “My client feels strongly about her position, and a full comparison of both books side by side would provide a clearer view.” This was not a casual filing.”
Swift has been the subject of several copyright lawsuits over the years. Her lawyers are currently defending her in a long-running lawsuit alleging that she stole the lyrics to her chart-topping single “Shake It Off” from another song that also mentions “playas” and “haters.” She filed her own sworn declaration in that case earlier this month, claiming the song was “written entirely by me” and that she’d “never heard” the lyrics she’s accused of plagiarising.