Taylor Swift’s Lawyers Want Copyright Case Tossed: ‘A Lawsuit That Never Should Have Been Filed’
A self-published author claimed Taylor stole elements of a book, but the star's lawyers are now calling the case "baseless" and want it tossed out.
Taylor Swift‘s attorneys are asking a federal judge to dismiss a copyright lawsuit claiming the star stole aspects of a self-published book of poetry when she created a companion book for her album Lover, calling the case “legally and factually baseless.”
A woman named Teresa La Dart sued Swift last year, claiming that “a number of creative elements” from her 2010 book (also called Lover) were copied into Swift’s book. But in a motion filed Friday in Tennessee federal court, Swift’s lawyers said the copyright lawsuit should be dismissed immediately because it failed in every way possible.
“This is a lawsuit that never should have been filed,” attorney Doug Baldridge wrote for the superstar.
La Dart sued Swift in August over the star’s Lover book – an extra bundled with the special edition of her Lover CD that The New York Times called a “must-read companion” for Swifties. Released in four different versions, Swift’s book included a total of 120 pages of personal diary entries, accompanied by photos selected by the singer.
La Dart’s lawsuit claims the book borrowed a number of visual elements from the outer design, including its “pastel pinks and blues” and an image of the author “photographed in a downward pose,” as well as the book’s overall format: “a recollection of past years memorialized in a combination of written and pictorial components.” La Dart also says the inner book design – specifically that it’s composed of “interspersed photographs and writings” – infringed her copyrights.
But in Friday’s response, Swift’s lawyers said those elements were just commonplace features of almost any book, meaning they fall well-short of being unique enough to qualify for copyright protection.
“These allegedly-infringing elements, each a generic design format, are not subject to copyright protection,” Baldridge wrote. “Thus, defendants could not possibly have infringed plaintiff’s copyright.”
And even if La Dart had valid copyrights to her book, Swift’s lawyers argued that the accuser has no proof that Swift ever even saw the earlier book, nor that the two books are legally similar to constitute copyright infringement.
“When compared, it is undeniable that the book formats and inner book designs are not similar in the slightest,” Baldridge wrote.
Friday’s arguments closely track what legal experts have told Billboard about the potential weaknesses of La Dart’s case. In an interview last year, copyright expert Aaron Moss said that such a simple book format cannot not be monopolized by any one author: “If it were, this person might as well sue anyone who’s ever written a diary or made a scrap book.”
At the time, La Dart’s attorney William S. Parks 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.”
On Monday, Parks told Billboard that he and his client were still reviewing Swift’s new motion, but that La Dart “understands the formidable nature of the overall situation.”
“Miss La Dart has questions that will hopefully and eventually be answered regarding her perceived similarities between the two works,” Parks said. “Unfortunately, she felt it necessary to bring this suit in order to possibly obtain such answers. We will see how the judge decides at this point.”