Taylor Swift is a woman of unblemished countenance who sings songs. Although she doesn’t sing with her legs, they are deemed to be a major part of her act in much the same way as Betty Grable’s legs were in bygone years. Remember Betty?
‘Hosiery specialists of the era often noted the ideal proportions of her legs as thigh (18.5 inches (47 cm)), calf (12 inches (30 cm)), and ankle (7.5 inches (19 cm)). Grable’s legs were famously insured by her studio for $1 million with Lloyds of London.’ (Wikipedia)
I read that Ms Swift has also insured her legs – reportedly for the sum of $26,000,000. This may be an astute move on her part since breaking one of them would ruin her forthcoming tour. Why? Because, nowadays, singing is not enough. There has to be bodywork too. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs didn’t need to gyrate, and neither did Doc Watson, but times have changed. So get out there, why don’t you, and shake those tail feathers!
In fact I have no interest in Ms Swift’s legs, but I have been following some of her other moves. She seems to be an astute business person.
To maintain her squeaky clean image, she has bought the domain names TaylorSwift.porn and TaylorSwift.adult before they become available to buy as part of a public sale by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) planned to take place on 1 June. She has done this so that no one else can use these domain names to move ‘adult’ material. According to Ad Week, a select few businesses and individuals were offered the opportunity to buy addresses based on the new domains for $2,500 (£1,600) before they went on the open market and Ms Swift was one of those individuals. I think she did the right thing.
But Ms Swift has done something else as well. She has applied to trademark five phrases from her latest album 1989: ‘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?’
So if you are innocently writing a novel or short story including the line, ‘Nice to meet you, where you been?’ you could end up on the wrong side of a law suit from Ms Swift’s legal team. I am not a lawyer, but I cannot see how it can be right to trademark an entirely normal phrase like this. Such moves should be resisted. If your book exists in file form only it will be easy to amend, but if you or your publisher have paid for a print run as well, then the entire consignment might have to be pulped.
Two years ago I came across an author who discovered, by way of a heavy letter from a lawyer, that her title had been trademarked and she couldn’t legally use it. Since her book was self-published, she had to come up with a new title, no easy matter, and pay for an amended cover design. All of which caused her considerable anguish.
Surely this is not the way we want to go.