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Taylor Swift Accused of Stealing ‘Lover’ Book Design From Little-Known Author

The case claims Taylor copied key elements of the book companion to her 2019 album. Experts say it's deeply flawed and "should be thrown out" quickly.

Taylor Swift is facing a new copyright lawsuit that claims she ripped off the book that accompanied her album Lover from a self-published book of poems under the same name, but legal experts tell Billboard the case is highly questionable and unlikely to succeed.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in Tennessee federal court, author Teresa La Dart claimed 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.

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Swift’s book infringes La Dart’s copyrights, La Dart’s lawyer wrote in the lawsuit, and the star now owes in “excess of one million dollars” in damages.

“The defendants to this day have neither sought, nor obtained, a license from TLD of her creative design element rights, nor have they given any credit to TLD … let alone provided any monetary payments,” La Dart’s attorney William S. Parks wrote in the complaint.

The alleged similarities between La Dart’s book and Swift’s book include covers that both feature “pastel pinks and blues,” as well as an image of the author “photographed in a downward pose.” La Dart also claims Swift copied the book’s “format,” namely “a recollection of past years memorialized in a combination of written and pictorial components.” La Dart says the inner book design – specifically that it’s composed of “interspersed photographs and writings” – also infringed her copyrights.

If those elements don’t sound unique enough to be covered by copyrights, legal experts would agree.

“As far as I can tell, she isn’t claiming that any of the actual content is similar,” said Aaron Moss, a veteran litigator at the firm Greenberg Glusker who writes about copyright lawsuits at his website Copyright Lately.

“The idea of memorializing a series of recollections over a number of years by interspersing ‘written and pictorial components’ isn’t protectable,” Moss said. “If it were, this person might as well sue anyone who’s ever written a diary or made a scrap book.”

The titles of Swift’s book and La Dart’s book are identical, but copyright law typically doesn’t protect titles themselves. And the name “Lover” is hardly original to La Dart: U.S. Copyright Office records indicate that more than a dozen other books feature the same title.

“This lawsuit should be thrown out on a motion to dismiss, if the plaintiff’s lawyer doesn’t think better of it and voluntarily withdraw the complaint first,” Moss said.

In a statement to email to Billboard, La Dart’s attorney defended bringing the case: “My client feels strongly about her position and the full comparison of both books side-by-side would provide a clearer view. This filing was not taken lightly.”

The new case is one of several copyright lawsuits Swift has faced over the years. Her attorneys are currently defending her in a long-running case that claims she lifted the lyrics to her chart-topping “Shake It Off” from another song that also references “playas” and “haters.” Earlier this month, she filed her own sworn declaration in that case, claiming the song was “written entirely by me” and that she’d “never heard” the lyrics she’s accused of copying.

Read the entire complaint here: