So far, 2015 has been an amazing year for Taylor Swift. The 26-year-old musical artist is currently riding the wave of popularity gained from last year’s album 1989 with hit songs “Style,” “Bad Blood,” and “Wildest Dreams.” Not only that, Swift also had a very successful international tour known as The 1989 World Tour. From May to December of this year, Swift performed not only in the United States, but also Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia.
However, 2015 was also a year in which Taylor Swift was hit with numerous lawsuits, some accusing her of plagiarism. The first major case of plagiarism was when Jesse Braham, a lesser-known R&B singer, claimed Swift stole lyrics from one of his songs for her hit “Shake It Off.” Swift and Braham took the case to court and Swift won. Still, that would not be the last of her plagiarism accusations as Blackjacks, the devoted fans of K-pop girl group 2NE1, accused Swift of plagiarizing 2NE1’s music video for their song “Come Back Home” for her music video for “Bad Blood.”
Now, Taylor Swift is being accused of plagiarism yet again right before the end of the year. This time, however, Swift is accused of plagiarizing a New Orleans artist by using her art as promotional graphic for her 1989 album.
According to Huffington Post, Ally Burguieres, –an artist based in New Orleans — posted an open letter (attached above) on her Facebook page following what she calls a year-long battle for any kind of recognition of Taylor Swift using her artwork. Burguieres says her plagiarized artwork is that of a red and white fox sketch. Swift allegedly tweeted Burguieres’ fox to her millions of followers back in October of 2014, right around when 1989 released. However, Swift supposedly slapped on someone else’s signature along with the lyrics to the song “I Know Places.”
It should be noted the fox is used numerous times on products in Ally Burguieres’ vegan artisan boutique and her clothing line called Cocoally. She would easily recognize when another artist has used her fox in some fashion. Reportedly, all Burguieres wanted was recognition but she was allegedly ignored. What is peculiar is that the supposed plagiarized artwork was quietly deleted from Taylor Swift’s social media pages. Burguieres was convinced that Swift’s people knew they make a mistake but they were not willing to take responsibility for it.
Eventually, Ally Burguieres contacted an attorney who, in turn, got in touch with Taylor Swift’s lawyers. Burguieres was offered a four-digit sum. Eventually, Taylor Swift’s team responded, saying the situation was a misunderstanding that’s been blown out of proportion, as detailed in an official statement on the matter Swift’s team gave to Complex.
“A fan has stated that she created the watercolor drawing of a fox, added some of Taylor’s lyrics and signed the artwork as her own, posting it. Ms. Swift, believing it to be the fan’s original work, reposted the fan’s art, with her own comment, continuing the social media conversation. Ms. Burguieres did not contact Taylor’s office, but she posted on social media her claim that the fan had used her drawing. We found that posting, accepted it at face value and immediately took down Taylor’s posting of the fan art.”
Taylor Swift’s team also made sure to at least plead their case in the matter as well. If their statement is believed to be true, Ally Burguieres may be prolonging the situation to leech off both money and publicity using Swift’s name.
This Woman Is Accusing Taylor Swift Of Plagiarizing Her Work In A "1989" Promotion https://t.co/C6KXeen6tV
— Simone Hameister (@SimoneHameister) December 31, 2015
“At no time during these postings did Ms. Burguieres contact our office directly. Not withstanding the huge publicity this has generated for Ms. Burguieres and her store, in early November Ms. Swift’s office made a fair offer of payment well above a reasonable licensing fee for the short time that the fan art was posted online. The offer was for a payment to Ms Burguieres—there was no requirement of a contribution to any charity.”
“Her lawyer further advised us that Ms. Burguieres chose to go after Taylor only and not against the woman who has admitted she used Ms. Burguieres’ work as inspiration. Ms. Burguieres’ lawyer acknowledged Ms Swift’s action was unintentional, but rejected the offer. She promised to get back to us with an explanation of why she felt Ms Burguieres was entitled to more money, but she never did that and the next we heard was Ms Burguieres’ new posting. We have tried on multiple occasions to address Ms Burguieres’ concerns, but these actions make it clear to us that this is just an unfortunate effort to extract more money and more publicity.”
Ally Burguieres has not yet responded on Taylor Swift’s team’s official statement. If she has, it was probably done privately. Until such happens, the situation between the artist and the musician over plagiarism is on-going.
[Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images]