Swifties, if you were thinking of calling your Christmas a “Swiftmas” you might have to use the ™ symbol because guess who just trademarked “Swiftmas”?
On December 3, omnipotent pop entity Taylor Swift decided to trademark four other project titles and combinations of words via the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These following words are her own from now on.
“Swiftmas”, “Blank Space”, “And I’ll Write Your Name”, “A Girl Named Girl”, “1989”
In case you’re not what this means because you shy away from the real world (or are a millenial), a trademark is pretty much a word or phrase or symbol that “recognizes or identifies the source of the good of one party from the rest”. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks are forever — so long as the owner maintains the mark to indicate the source of goods and services.
This means that nobody else is able to use these words or phrases without indicating that they belong to Taylor Swift. It’s also slightly more complex than that — trademarks have to be registered for individual categories and there are plenty to choose from — but that’s basically the gist of it.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking, but no, you cannot simply use ™ without applying for one first because that is actually a crime.
Taylor’s IP management and holding company TAS Rights Management (TAS here standing for Taylor Alison Swift) have filed 20 federal trademark applications which covers various uses of these phrases. According to USA Today, five applications were filed for each phrase “for different classes of goods and services, including clothes, online retail, printed materials, websites and concerts”.
But this whole T-Swizzle trademarking thing ain’t exactly fresh news.
Earlier in the year, Taylor trademarked multiple phrases like “Cause We Never Go Out of Style”, “Could Show You Incredible Things”, and “Nice to Meet You, Where You Been?” which were used as song lyrics in 1989, her highest-selling album to date.
In fact, back in September UK-based music and culture publication The 405 reported that TAS Rights Management were taking action against content shared by fans on live-streaming app Periscope.
The way in which [TAS Rights Management] are dealing with these supposed breaches of copyrights by fans who want nothing more than to broadcast the fact that they are a) at a Taylor Swift concert, and b) dedicated enough to hold their phone up through the whole thing and get as much footage as possible.
Russell Thomas, The 405 (28 September 2015)
But what exactly does this mean for her fans? Is the issue being blown up into something that it really isn’t?
Fans of Taylor’s are less likely to infringe on her trademarks, unless they’re Instagram salesgirls who want to capitalise on printed tees, mugs, and other generic goods. And even that’s pretty tough to catch, unless you’re making thousands a month from the venture and someone from TAS Rights Management finds out.
We believe that the haters are going for blood, and the reality really depends on who you are. December 25th is still very much “Swiftmas”, unless you plan to declare it aloud on merchandise you plan to sell.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, don’t forget to get your copy of 1989 and prepare yourself for her next single (a new video was recently shot in New Zealand).